COVID-19 has increased the vulnerability of many people in our community, including working people who have lost their jobs or stood down, people who may be experiencing financial hardship and people facing eviction and homelessness.
“KLC is currently providing legal advice and assistance to many people who are facing new and urgent legal issues. Our lawyers are working from home providing them the urgent help they need. We are especially concerned about people who have lost their income, have their housing at risk and who may not be eligible for emergency assistance,” says KLC Director Emma Golledge.
“We are also concerned about elderly and vulnerable community members who may be struggling to afford basic supplies and who may be experiencing isolation and loneliness.”
The situation is dire for casual and migrant workers, who are often precariously employed and may depend on their job for their right to remain in Australia.
In response to the rapid policy responses, KLC has also worked hard to ensure that there is the greatest access to emergency assistance, advocating on the need to ensure that temporary visa workers and all casual workers are included in the Government’s wage subsidy package.
“The gaps in the social safety net are a cause of great concern as they will have flow on effects, such as homelessness and unsafe work situations which compromise the social distancing efforts of the community,” Ms Golledge says.
KLC is also intent on ensuring that the implementation of the ‘no evictions’ policy during COVID-19 does not allow for ‘no grounds’ terminations which would place the health and safety of tenants at risk.
‘No grounds’ terminations allow landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason.
“Any evictions moratorium must also prevent the landlord seeking the property on a ‘no grounds’ basis as this is a major contributor to homelessness and housing instability which is particularly dangerous for individuals and the community at this time,” says Ms Golledge.
KLC continues to focus on how best to service our community during this uncertain and anxious time, and on new and innovative ways to deliver legal services and legal information to our community.
“The impact of the pandemic cannot be understated, but we are determined to find new opportunities to support our community, immediately and longer term as we adjust to this new reality.”
People seeking legal help can contact Kingsford Legal Centre by completing an online form at www.klc.unsw.edu.au, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a message on 9385 9566.
People can also contact their local trusted community organisation to assist in contacting Kingsford Legal Centre or phone LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.