Victorian Bushfire Appeal to provide more than $10 million in housing assistance
Bendigo Bank, in partnership with the Victorian Government, has announced up to $10.1 million in housing assistance relief payments - raised through the Victorian Bushfire Appeal - is being distributed to more than 400 Victorian households destroyed or severely damaged by this summer’s devastating bushfires.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated an already challenging recovery process for bushfire affected communities across south eastern Australia, many of whom face uncertain futures.
With strict social distancing measures also now in place across Victoria to combat the spread of COVID-19, replacing lost items to assist with distancing requirements and securing a safe place to live has seldom been more important.
Windermere Child and Family Services - an independent community service organisation - will coordinate and distribute housing assistance relief payments of $25,000 to 405 Victorian households on behalf of the Appeal. These funds will be used to alleviate the costs associated with securing accommodation and replacing household and personal items lost to the bushfires.
Dr Lynette Buoy, CEO, Windermere Child and Family Services, said the provision of funds from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal will provide much needed relief to affected households across Victoria and reduce instances of financial hardship.
“We sincerely thank all Victorians who donated so generously to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal over the last number of months. Without this additional financial support, hundreds of Victorian households would be facing a very uncertain time.
“Our purpose - as an organisation - is to make a practical difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities. Over the next number of months, we will be working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Premier and Cabinet to ensure these funds help those deeply affected by the fires,” Dr Lynette Buoy said.
Alexandra Gartmann, Executive Corporate Affairs, Bendigo Bank, said Appeal funds donated by generous Australians will continue to be disbursed to those most in need - especially those that fall outside of government support or private insurance - so as to ensure their medium to long term requirements can be met and supported.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the national agenda, many have forgotten that just three months ago bushfires were ravaging the nation, destroying livelihoods and wreaking havoc on the lives of our fellow Australians,” Ms Gartmann said.
“These bushfire-affected communities are also now facing the compounding impact of COVID-19, so it’s more important than ever that we all stand alongside them for the long term - something we have done with local communities for more than 160 years.
“In the same way we have worked to support those impacted by COVID-19, fierce floods and debilitating droughts, we will continue to assist and back the areas devastated by bushfires as they strive to advance their economic and emotional recovery.”
To date, the Victorian Bushfire Appeal - conducted by Bendigo Bank’s charitable arm, Community Enterprise Foundation in partnership with the Victorian Government - has raised more than $33 million for fire impacted communities in Victoria.
Funds have already been distributed to a range of organisations that are working with local communities in their recovery, including; The Salvation Army, the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, BlazeAid, Windermere Child & Family Services, The Man From Snowy River Festival, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency Co-Op, Moogji Aboriginal Council East Gippsland Inc and Gippsland & East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-Op.