The Adelaide Hills will have greater support for locals experiencing financial distress with the announcement from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to fund more appointments for financial wellbeing and resilience programs in the area.
Lutheran Care has delivered a Financial Wellbeing program for more than a decade and will continue our valuable support, now bringing Emergency Relief (a foundational response of Lutheran Care) and Financial Counselling together to provide immediate assistance along with longer-term strategies, skills and confidence to support people to improve their financial situations.
The new program, co-designed by Lutheran Care alongside other agencies, Flinders University and the government, was announced on Wednesday, 23 August, at Mount Barker, as part of the Country Cabinet.
As well as announcing the new program, the Country Cabinet was an opportunity for local and state government leaders such as Human Services Minister Nat Cook, Michael Buchan and Ian Cox from the SA Housing Authority and Mount Barker District Council Mayor David Leach to hear directly from local representatives, service providers, church representatives and community members who deliver services on the ground.
Discussions included the shortage of affordable housing in the region, service mapping and more opportunities for stakeholders, council and community organisations to work together to solve local challenges that better support vulnerable Hills people and help them to remain living locally.
Invited by Minister Cook, Chief Executive Officer Rohan Feegrade and Toward Home Alliance Senior Manager Shaya Nettle were present along with Lutheran Care leaders and staff whom all appreciated the chance to liaise with sector partners and the community around region specific concerns.
Minister Nat Cook spoke about work being done, what’s in store and how these types of casual forums are a good place to discuss richer, innovative work that leads to sustainable place-based solutions.
Minister Cook said, “This new program is about supporting financially vulnerable South Australians at a time when many people are doing it tough or finding it harder to make ends meet.
“The five essential components of this program are: financial counselling, especially in relation to debt management; emergency assistance, such as urgent cash for food or bills; prevention and budgeting; connections and referrals, and timely triage so people get the help they need as quickly as possible.
“What I really like about this program is that people experiencing financial crisis can engage with the emergency assistance aspect of the program as a first point of contact, and then continue with financial counselling to address broader concerns and ultimately find a path towards financial security.
“These services are available to anyone who needs the service. I’m delighted to have progressive service providers like Lutheran Care on board to provide non-stigmatising, non-judgmental services which empower people towards financial wellbeing.”
After the forum, Rohan Feegrade had a chance to sit down with the Minister and talk to the many South Australians who are experiencing financial distress, Lutheran Care’s response and support and the cost-of-living crisis that is compounded in regional areas.
Rohan Feegrade says, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with DHS and sector colleagues to offer emergency assistance and financial wellbeing services to regional communities, who often have limited access to these types of programs as compared to city counterparts.
Lutheran Care’s Financial Wellbeing team are accredited members of the SA Financial Counselling Association, with our managers and leaders sitting on various advocacy and advisory committees in the financial space.
A suite of Financial Wellbeing programs and support are available to families, individuals and young people from financial crisis support to budgeting and education to equip participants with an understanding of ethical financial products and scams.
“Overwhelmingly we hear from our clients they feel supported to find solutions together, which in the first instance allows them a good night’s sleep.
“From the very first appointment, our team works in partnership toward client led resolutions and outcomes that addresses each individual’s unique and vulnerable financial situation.
The Financial Wellbeing and Resilience Program can be accessed in the Adelaide Hills through The Willow’s Children’s Centre in Mount Barker, and the Mt Barker Community Centre and intends to co-locate with other providers and partners in the future.
In addition to Adelaide Hills locations, Lutheran Care delivers financial wellbeing programs and Emergency Relief in the Barossa, Light and Lower North area.
Appointments are available by phoning (08) 7070 6717, or on our website here: lutherancare.org.au/financial-counselling