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Support, financial hardship and emergency relief services

There are a number of community service agencies and organisations that provide assistance with financial hardship, food and material aid (including baby/children's needs), assistance with legal matters (including bills and fines), education expenses and other support services in the municipality.

There are different agencies in the City of Whittlesea who offer support.

Community Activation and Social Isolation Program (CASI) offers social, emotional and practical support. Call Hiba 9401 6697 Monday to Friday 9am until 5pm.

Whittlesea Community Connections offers information and support including Community Legal Service, Emergency Relief and Casework. Call them on 9401 6644 between 9am until 1pm Monday to Friday.

View a list of local community service agencies

Find out more about the services available.

View the Whittlesea Community Connections Emergency Relief Calendar.

Babies and Children

Big Group Hug provides material relief to vulnerable families including clothes, nappies.

Family Violence Support Services

There are a variety of supports available for people experiencing family violence.

If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 000 

Financial Support

National Debt Helpline - Free financial counselling

Uniting Financial Counselling call 1800 685 682 to make an appointment or for more information.

Contact Whittlesea Community Connections on 9401 6644 on Monday to Friday from 9am until 1pm for assistance.

What is Financial Hardship?

According to Council’s newly adopted Financial Hardship Policy it is defined as ‘difficulty meeting everyday living expenses’ which may include: food, accommodation, clothing, health care, transport costs, education, and other basic necessities.

Some of the main reasons that can cause financial hardship include:

  • Health issues and associated expenses
  • Loss of employment
  • Covid-19 and associated side effects
  • Unforeseen circumstances
  • Severe mortgage stress and/or financial overcommitment

View Council’s Financial Hardship Policy documents:

How can Council help?

Whilst Council is unable to waive rates, we can offer various other avenues of support for those experiencing financial hardship. This includes deferrals, payment plans, and waivers of interest and collection costs.

Council can also provide meaningful information on other financial assistance programs that might be available and/or referrals to appropriate support services specialising in family violence, financial counselling and food and material aid.

Eligibility

There is no formal application form used to determine eligibility but rather residents will be assessed on a case by case basis via a meaningful two-way conversation.

Some of the indicators that may highlight a customer’s need for assistance are:

  • History of frequent requests for payment extensions or payment arrangements that have not been met
  • Unable to afford the costs of current financial obligations, even if smoothed over a 12-month period
  • Payment history that indicates past difficulty of meeting their financial obligations to Council
  • Eligibility for Government funded concessions (e.g. Health Care Card, Centrelink benefit)
  • Sudden change of circumstances that adversely affects their financial capacity to pay
  • Referral from a financial counselling agency or community organisation
  • Asylum seekers or refugees who have limited access to financial stability
  • People experiencing health and mental health issues
  • Having identified as a victim of family violence
  • Having a low level of income, that is unlikely to change
  • Currently unemployed

Please note, to allow Council to extend a meaningful level of support to genuine hardship applicants, Council is unable to assess applications involving investment properties or properties that are not lived in by the applicant.

How can I apply?

If you are unable to meet your payment obligations and need some assistance please contact Council on 9217 2170 or fill out the below enquiry form and the Financial Hardship Support Officer will contact you within 10 business days to discuss further.

Submit a financial hardship enquiry form

Other agencies

Victorian Government concessions

The Victorian Government offers concessions to a variety of people to help with housing, water, energy, health, education and transport costs. Read more about concessions on the DHHS website. You can also read their concessions guide.