The Salvation Army's Mobile Bushfire Disaster Recovery teams are coming to Bega, Cobargo and Quaama to help anyone experiencing hardship, particularly bushfire affected people.
The Salvos teams will be providing information and support to residents of the area, including financial counselling and a new round of grants which include a youth grant, total loss grant and household goods grant.
Bushfire recovery officer with the Salvos, Ja Davis said in many cases the grants could be approved on the spot.
"The youth grant is to help people who may be struggling with TAFE or school costs, while the hardship fund is a general fund for anyone experiencing difficulties whether or not they were bushfire affected," Mr Davis said.
He said that while many bushfire affected people had applied for the total loss grant, there were some who had not and he urged people to come and talk to the Salvos.
"We have copped some criticism for our approach but the benefits will be evident in the coming year. We took a different approach to be there for three years, or longer if needed," he said with respect to the those affected by the Black Summer Bushfires.
Mr Davis is concerned that some of those who received larger grants may have used them to pay off debts and he said that was not always the best way.
"If someone has debts of $60,000 and they receive a grant of $10,000 and put it towards that debt, they are still basically in the same situation with the same stresses," he said.
We are here for the longhaul until everyone has recovered. I urge people to reach out and not to self exclude even if they know there are others worse off than they are.Salvos bushfire recovery officer Ja Davis
He said that Salvos can help with financial counselling and through their help, some debts can be put on hold, paid over a longer period and even wiped out.
"We're trying to provide a holistic approach with financial advice. There's so much that can be done and it's better to use a grant for living expenses."
Mr Davis said the combination of bushfires and COVID had a serious impact on people's mental health.
"We're seeing more mental health issues and domestic violence than previously particularly in bushfire affected areas," Mr Davis said.
"There's a broad spectrum of people's recovery; we have people in new homes, working, looking forward and we also have people in severe anxiety, living in tents with no real income and everything in between," Mr Davis said.
He said COVID meant people didn't get the chance to socialise as a community following the bushfires.
"We are here for the longhaul until everyone has recovered. I urge people to reach out and not to self exclude even if they know there are others worse off than they are," Mr Davis said.
He said the visits were a great opportunity to get practical, free advice.
"If you're struggling, whether it is financially, mentally or spiritually, please come along, we're here to help."
The Salvation Army Mobile Bushfire Support Service will be at:
Bega (Zingel Place), Tuesday 19 January.
Cobargo (Co-Op carpark, Princes Hwy) Wednesday 20 January.
Quaama (Adjacent to Memorial Park, opposite the Hall, Cobargo St) Thursday 21 January.
(Services are available between 8am and 4pm each day.)
For assistance at any time please contact Salvos Disaster Assistance line on either,
1300 662217 or email@example.com