Each week Refugee Hub is visited by many of the newly arrived, seeking help to negotiate life in their new home of Australia.

There are many challenging areas – processes, regulations, language, education, health, bills … the list goes on.

“Casework Snippets” aims to give a small understanding of the challenges the newly arrived face and how we assist them to work towards independence in their new home. Here is a snapshot of the help we have given:

Banking
A client who opened a first home loan savings account some years back asked for help to understand her bank statement. It quickly became apparent such accounts had not been offered by the bank for several years and the account had been rolled into a very low interest every day account.  We worked with the client and the bank to identify a much better product that returned a substantially higher interest rate. A supported visit to the bank built her confidence and she met the branch manager who offered to see her whenever she had questions (with the support of the Refugee Hub whilst he became familiar with using the telephone interpreter service).  The branch manager went above and beyond his duty in supporting our client, and managed to negotiate an additional payment from the bank for extra interest to be credited to the client’s account in lieu of lost interest during the time the account had been held in the lesser product.  Everyone was delighted with the outcome.

Checks for volunteering
Many of our clients are keen to give back to the community but are unable to independently navigate the required paperwork. In August we helped four past clients gain their Working With Children Check to enable them to provide volunteer support to others in their broader community. 

University – academic writing
A young man (refugee background) has been accepted into a medical degree and recently requested assistance with writing for university purposes.  We were able to link him to a retired teacher who has offered to help him plan and review his written work before submitting his assignments.  In return, he has offered his services as an interpreter for other clients with Arabic / English.

Water bills
A family of seven were struggling to pay off large water bills for their townhouse over the last year.  A check with Hunter Water identified there was only one water meter for the block of 5 units.  The family were supported to write to the real estate agency and request reimbursement for all water usage to date, as it is illegal to charge for water usage unless a property is separately metered.  This is the second such instance we have identified with client tenancies.