Veterans’ Services Update – July-September 2019
Through the services provided by RSL DefenceCare, RSL NSW helps veterans and their families.
Thanks to the generous support of sub-Branches and donations from members and the general public, RSL DefenceCare was able to provide a great deal of support in the last quarter (July to September).
RSL DefenceCare was able to:
- Assist 24 veterans experiencing homelessness.
- Provide $235,391 in financial assistance including $12,000 in drought assistance.
- Help 186 veterans to lodge 570 claims with DVA.
- Provide 30 counselling sessions to 12 people.
- Makes 61 visits to homes and hospitals, seeing 40 people.
This report was originally published on the RSL DefenceCare website. You can read more below to find out how RSL NSW is supporting veterans and their families through RSL DefenceCare.
Homelessness and Housing Support
Recent reports suggest that the number of homeless veterans is more than first estimated. The media coverage and ongoing discussion of this issue is vital in raising awareness.
Over three months from July to September this year we helped 24 veterans who were experiencing homelessness.
On its own, this number might not seem large, but it represents 24 individuals whose lives have been immeasurably improved. Like many members of the League we want to be able to help more and do our bit for veterans who have fallen on hard times.
The NSW Government Department, Family and Community Services (FACS) funds a Housing Project Officer for RSL DefenceCare. This position allows us to help veterans and their families with things like finding a rental property, accessing subsidised rental and bond payments, or staying in their current accommodation if a veteran is at risk of becoming homeless.
Taking an individual approach to each person’s needs, our Housing Project Officer alleviates immediate crisis and assesses the ongoing needs of a veteran in order to give them the support they need. The importance of this ongoing support cannot be underestimated. We don’t want to put veterans at risk of facing homelessness again in the future.
Together, RSL NSW and RSL DefenceCare is always looking for ways to fund more Housing Project Officer positions to increase this support.
Helping veterans lodge claims with DVA is one of RSL DefenceCare’s primary services.
From July to September we helped 186 veterans to lodge 570 claims.
On average it takes 3 hours and $164 to help a veteran with one claim.
Our claims and advocacy specialists are vital in helping with the lifetime wellbeing of veterans and their families.
This value in these services was demonstrated in the recent story of Jim, a veteran that RSL assisted. Following serious mental ill health and homelessness, the support he received with DVA claims and appeals at the Veterans’ Review Board provided Jim with incapacity payments that offer him financial independence and enable him to focus on his health. Jim spoke candidly when he said “if I didn’t have RSL DefenceCare, I’d be stuffed”.
Financial assistance is another core service and it’s there to help veterans and their families experiencing financial hardship.
In the last quarter of the year, $235,391 in financial assistance was provided to veterans and their families. This included $12,000 of disaster assistance to drought affected areas.
As we approach the warmer season, the potential impact of droughts and bushfires increases. We recognise the devastation that these disasters can cause. Financial assistance is critical in helping veterans in these times of crisis.
If a sub-Branch would like to contribute to the financial assistance fund, please get in contact and we will guide you through the process.
Community Support and Outreach
Providing comfort and mateship in local communities is a central part of the League, something that sub-Branches do best.
RSL DefenceCare supports the work of sub-Branches with counselling sessions, emotional support and community visits. In the last quarter the team made 61 visits to homes, nursing homes, and hospitals, seeing 40 people. We also provided 30 counselling sessions to 12 people.
By their very nature, community visits are time consuming and can be expensive. We currently have one full-time and one part-time staff member providing these services.
With additional “feet on the ground” we could make even more visits to veterans, widows and family members in times of need.
The team at RSL DefenceCare couldn’t provide these services without ongoing and generous support. We want to continue helping veterans and their families and make a difference in the lives of people who have served our country.
If you’d like to support RSL DefenceCare’s work you can make a donation to RSL DefenceCare today.
If your sub-Branch would like to make a financial contribution, please contact us and we can guide you through the process.