“There are several major barriers to successful settlement, such as limited access to housing, employment, physical and mental health services, education, legal advice and meaningful community engagement.”
A needs assessment undertaken by JRS’ Head of Policy and Advocacy, Oliver White, found that asylum seekers tended to congregate in the city’s southwest due to the greater affordability of housing in this area and the concentration of cultural groups with which many asylum seekers identify.
“The assessment confirmed that there is a great need for a service hub for asylum seekers in southwestern Sydney, and that JRS would be well-suited to providing such a service,” said Mr White.
“Some of these people’s needs are currently being met by other agencies working in the area, but the size of their caseloads and the niche areas they are specialising in – health and material assistance, for example – means that they simply cannot adequately address all the asylum seekers’ needs.”
Mr White said that agencies had expressed a willingness to collaborate with JRS should it decide to open an office in Sydney’s southwest, and that the proposed facility would help to improve the level of access that asylum seekers currently have to support services while awaiting the outcome of their visa applications.
“There are several major barriers to successful settlement, such as limited access to housing, employment, physical and mental health services, education, legal advice and meaningful community engagement. JRS would be able to fill a large gap which asylum seekers are currently falling through thanks to the uneven way in which government policy is applied to different categories of asylum seeker.”
The needs assessment report also recommended that a service hub be culturally-sensitive, that it offer a no-interest loan scheme and the provision of childcare so that mothers can more readily access services, and that it employ specialised youth workers to help young asylum seekers transition into the community.