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Recovery and rebuilding - an insight

2 June 2020

$10 million has been made available for relief payments of $25,000 for Victorian households who have lost homes, with $6.9 million already on the ground helping individuals and families. That’s where Windermere Child and Family Services comes into its own – working with these people to help them through the process.

This is a great insight into just how much help people need, beyond the financial assistance, that we often don’t think of.

There’s so much more to recovering from a natural disaster than rebuilding your home. Of course that’s important, but it’s not the only consideration. Your donations are important. So too is the ‘on the ground’ support from case workers who are employed by agencies like Windermere Child and Family Services.

One East Gippsland family has not only received a grant from our appeal, but has also welcomed the support of a case manager to help them through the recovery and rebuilding process.


This is where they’re at in their journey:

An elderly couple in their 80’s lost their primary residence along with farm machinery, outbuildings, water tanks and fences in the East Gippsland 2019/20 fires. After the fires, the family requested case management bushfire support. They have since been working with the Bushfire Case Support Program at Windermere.

The case management model for this situation is a flexible approach. The case manager works with both the couple and their daughter to ensure wrap-around services are provided for all parties and to ease the burden during this time.

Mental health support has been the main focus for the family, primarily aimed at supporting the daughter with twice weekly calls as she supports her parents through this time.

The calls provide space for future planning, information sharing, debriefing and brain storming.

The case manager has made referrals to the Lions Club. This resulted in a $1500 contribution for a much-needed generator for the property to assist them with cleaning up and being able to stay on sight. The case manager also made a successful referral for a water tank through Anglicare.

Other supports provided by the case manager included assisting with communication between a building company and the family to understand timelines. Donations have seen the family slowly build up items for their house once rebuilt.

More recently, the case manager connected the family with Sarsfield Recreational Reserve to receive second hand tools. The case manager also provides ongoing grant information where possible.

Prior to case management beginning for the family, Windermere provided short-term case management support. This led to the family being placed on a list for a portable home along with much needed Kmart and Coles vouchers. The Windermere bushfire team also supported the couple to access the $25,000 housing assistance payment.

The trusting relationship built between the Windermere bushfire team, the Windermere case manager and the family has meant communication is open and honest allowing for things to happen steadily.

The family have stated they feel they are not alone on this journey and feel connected and supported.

The family wants to remain working with the case manager to help rebuild and refurbish their future new home.


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