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Home > Media > Children and the elderly among those facing a harsh winter after seeking asylum

Children and the elderly among those facing a harsh winter after seeking asylum

Members of Parliament will hear of the dire situation facing people seeking refugee protection at a Parliamentary Friends of Refugee Group Homelessness Week event on August 9th 

The event, organised by the Refugee Council of Australia, along with charities and organisations in the homelessness sector, will highlight the alarming and increasing rates of homelessness and destitution faced by people seeking asylum in our communities.  

Parliamentarians will hear about the main issues affecting people seeking protection in Australia, including: 

  • Children who are facing malnourishment and developmental delays due to food insecurity. 
  • Exacerbated homelessness and sharp increase in rough sleeping.  
  • Unmet medical care and pharmaceutical needs.
  • Increase in the severity of mental health issues.   

Forty per cent of this group are children, with others including the elderly, people with disabilities and people with severe mental health conditions.  

The NSW Government is not extending funding they were providing for charities to give emergency relief to people seeking protection who were refused Federal Government support. This funding ended on 30 June 2023.  

This combined with the escalating cost of living, national housing crisis, and the cold winter months means people seeking asylum are facing increased hardship, poverty, and escalating levels of homelessness.  

The only Federal program people seeking asylum can apply for is the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program.  

However, the SRSS program now benefits few people because of its restrictive and narrow eligibility criteria. 

In 2015, the budget for the only Federal Program that people seeking refugee protection can apply for (Status Resolution Support Services, SRSS) was $300 million.

In less than a decade, spending on this vital program has been cut by 95%. The SRSS program, which once supported 29,000 people, now supports fewer than 1,600 people. But that is not because there is less need.    

Without access to the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) program, a support payment of just $45 a day, thousands of people have no means to pay for even basic accommodation for themselves and their families and face imminent homelessness.    

The Parliamentary Friendship of Refugees Group was formed in March 2023 and is chaired by Kate Thwaites MP (Labor), Hon Dan Tehan MP (Liberal), Senator Nick McKim (Greens) and Zoe Daniel MP (Independent). 

We are calling on the Federal Government to urgently expand the SRSS program eligibility to help up to 15,000 people escape destitution and homelessness. 

For more information on the event, speakers and media opportunities, please contact Elly Kohistani on 0432809244 or email us at 

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