Recently a man (we will call him Reza) was released from Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre north of Perth. He had been detained for two years because he was accused of something which was later proven not to be true. Then he continued to be detained because his visa had expired. Reza was released with $60 which he spent on accommodation while waiting for a plane back to Melbourne.
Reza has a wife and teenage son. BASP has been supporting this family for two years. Reza has no work rights and will have difficulty getting a job so the family will need ongoing assistance. There is no income support for families such as these – they do not qualify for Jobseeker or any other Government funding.
Over the past few years, and especially since the Covid pandemic, the work of BASP has increasingly become helping with rent and utilities and the provision of emergency relief money. Currently we are assisting about 260 people with rent and many more with other needs. Even with discounting what we are paying because we have some donated housing, we are paying about $100,000 a month to keep people with a minimum of security. Currently, asylum seekers in Melbourne are experiencing a high level of destitution and many would be homeless without the support of groups like BASP. BASP is supported by many people who are responding to the challenge in the parable in Matthew 25, ‘I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’