There’s nothing wrong with asking for help in difficult times.
The COVID-19 pandemic means many members of the La Trobe community find themselves in need of assistance with their finances, housing and health.
Lots of these services are offered by La Trobe. You can explore the full portfolio of the Wellbeing supports here.
But there’s also some great sources of support in the communities where our campuses are located.
We’ve compiled a list of available supports if you are in need of a helping hand at this time.
If you know of any great resources we may have missed, let us know at MyLaTrobe@latrobe.edu.au.
Financial stress is common for many students during COVID-19 due to loss or difficulty in finding work, ineligibility for job seeker or job keeper, changes in circumstances plus additional financial responsibilities due other family members losing jobs, and more. In addition to the financial bursaries which the University have made available for students, here is a list of some other useful financial supports available in the community:
Student unions and associations, and La Trobe support
- La Trobe Student Union Financial Counselling Service has a financial counsellor who offers advice and support to students in financial difficulty. They can walk students through grants and sponsorship that they are eligible for, and also have the capability to distribute emergency funding to students.
- La Trobe Student Union Legal Service provides free legal advice and access to a qualified lawyer around all manner of legal issues, including issues around unfair dismissal at work and rental rights.
- Bendigo Student Association Financial Counselling Service provides free financial counselling, free legal advice and food packages to those who are struggling, in collaboration with Bendigo Food Share.
- Ask La Trobe Emergency Aid – Financial support up to $200 is available to provide immediate relief from urgent, unexpected one-off expenses.
- Study Melbourne has lots information on services and resources to support International Students, including the emergency relief fund.
- Community Information and Support Victoria (CISVics), where you can find local services nearby which can provide information, support and referrals for those experiencing financial and personal difficulties, including emergency relief.
- Tenants Victoria can provide information and advice particularly on the recent changes to rental law including ban on rent increases and evictions.
- Victoria Housing are currently providing one off rent relief grants to those experiencing rental hardship.
- Victoria Housing Crisis & Emergency Accommodation, help if you are homeless, or at risk of homelessness or family violence.
- National Debt Hotline, access to free financial counselling plus tips and guides to manage your financial situation.
- COVID -19 Early Release of Super allows can apply for early release of super subject to meeting eligibility requirements.
- Centrelink provides access to government support, please check eligibility .
- Centrelink and COVID19 provides more support options specific to the pandemic.
- Moneysmart is a national website run by ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) providing practical advice on budgeting, managing debts, borrowing and credit.
- No-Interest-Loan-Scheme provide individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit.
- Department of Human Services – Concessions Unit provides disability, financial and welfare support, hardship and health concessions.
- Vincent de Paul Society provide a range of services, including financial support, emergency relief, food and food vouchers.
- The Salvation Army can help with financial advice and support for immediate basic needs in a crisis including family violence and risk of homelessness.
- Empower provide a number of food relief centers for those in need of emergency food support.
- The Red Cross can provide emergency relief, in particular at the moment, for those on temporary visas.
- Darebin City Council provides information and support on how to access emergency relief, financial assistance and food.
- Whittlesea Community Connections provides food relief, information, free legal advice and social isolation support.
- Mildura Community Relief Service is a council run service during Covid-19 which connects people undergoing financial hardship to services such as food packages and shopping vouchers.
- Greater Shepparton Relief provides a council information and advice service on how to access a range of services in the Shepparton area.
- Wodonga Council provides general information and advice on support available.
- City of Greater Bendigo – Their website lists a range of supports including financial support. Click here for a condensed quick list
- Bendigo Family and Financial Services are providing emergency food parcels in Bendigo.
You my need more support during the COVID19 crisis. The following lists a number of external support including emergency crisis support, emergency food relief, legal help and emergency housing support.
In an emergency, always dial 000.
Mental Health/ Suicide Risk help lines
- Life Line: 131 114
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
- Suicide Line: 1300 651 251
- Kids Help Line (5–25yrs): 1800 55 1800
- Maternal and Child Health (24 hour, 7 days a week service): 13 22 29
- QLife – telephone and online counselling for LGBTIQ people, by LGBTIQ people. Call 1800 184 527 or online (3pm – 12am every day).
- 1800 RESPECT – 24/7 online and telephone counselling, information and support on 1800 737 732.
- Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA) - provide a crises response where sexual assault has occurred in the last two weeks. To contact the CASA closest to you call 1800 806 292.
- Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria (SACL) - After-hours telephone crises counselling service on 1800 806 292. 5pm – 9am weekdays, weekends and public holidays.
- Sexual Offences & Child Abuse Investigation Team – Regional local contacts. Bendigo (MDC*): (03) 5444 6752 Mildura (MDC*): (03) 5023 5980 Shepparton: (03) 5820 5878 Wodonga: (02) 6049 2671. *MDC – Multi-disciplinary Centre
Intimate Partner and Family Violence
- 1800 RESPECT - 24/7 online and telephone counselling, information and support on 1800 737 732.
- Safe Steps: Family Violence Response Centre – 24/7 telephone counselling, information and support on 1800 015 188.
- Mensline Australia – support and information service for Australian men. 24/7 telephone, text or video counselling on 1300 78 99 78.
La Trobe after-hours crisis support
- Crisis Line: our out of hours mental health and wellbeing support. Phone 1300 146 307 or text 0488 884 100 from 5.00pm – 9.00am weekdays and 24 hours during weekends and public holidays.
Psychiatric Triage (or crisis assessment and treatment teams)
Information, Assessment and Triage for direct and prompt response and assessment of individuals where there is a serious concern for welfare and safety of an individual available 24/7.
Contact numbers varies by region, find your specific region number here.
Some quick links to suburb or regional-based services below:
- Bundoora: Psychiatric Triage – North East, phone 1300 859 789
- Bendigo: Psychiatric Triage – Loddon Campaspe/Southern Mallee, phone 1300 363 788
- Shepparton: Psychiatric Triage – Goulburn & Southern, phone 1300 369 005
- Albury/Wodonga: Psychiatric Triage – North/Eastern Hume, phone 1300 881 104
- Mildura: Psychiatric Triage – Northern Mallee, phone 1300 366 375
- LTSU Legal Support Service: For any legal issue. Call Reception on 9479 2314 for a phone or zoom appointment, or email email@example.com
- Bendigo Student Association Legal Service: The service offers free and confidential advice from qualified and experienced lawyers on a number of issues. Make an appointment on 03 5445 0909
- Victoria Legal Aid: For urgent legal advice, phone 1300 792 387
- Consumer Action Law Centre: A general advice line reachable via phone number 9629 6300
- Consumer Affairs Victoria: General Information Line, Call 1300 558 181
- Study Melbourne: International Students Support
Emergency housing support
- Housing Victoria: Crisis and Emergency Accommodation: Call 1800 825 955. This is the statewide phone number in Victoria for all homelessness access points. The call will divert to the local homelessness access point, depending on where you are calling from.
- Housing options finder assists with informing you of eligibility to what service.
- Haven; Home, Safe: Access point for people experiencing homelessness and housing related issues including housing information and advocacy, assessment of Housing and Support needs, referral to crisis accommodation and specialist support services, limited financial assistance to establish or maintain rental tenancies. Bendigo 5444 9099; Mildura 5018 4200; Preston 9479 0700; Geelong 5246 8900.
- HOME AT LAST: Available assistance includes access to secure, affordable and appropriate housing for older people. Appointments preferred. Contact: 1300 765 178; Monday to Friday 10.00am-4.00pm.
Food: Free meals or low-cost food
- Victory Young Adults (VYA), Bendigo: Bendigo VYA are offering ‘Food Help’, dry assorted food bags of a random assortment of dry packaged goods, for students in need. There are a limited number of food bags and are distributed on a case by case basis. If you need a food bag or would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message their VYA Facebook or VYA Instagram
- Sikh volunteers Australia: Delivering free food to people in need during self-isolation in Melbourne’s south-east suburbs.
- Global Hindu Association: Provide providing food for international students in dire need.
- Local Food Connect: A comprehensive list of suburbs and organisations providing free meals in Melbourne’s northern suburbs
- St Vincent De Paul Welfare Line: Available assistance includes food parcels, food vouchers, Telstra vouchers, help sourcing furniture and household items, referral to other services such as No Interest Loans financial counselling and rent assistance. Call 1800 305 330, 10am–3pm.
- Salvation Army: Help options available. Call 13 72 58
- Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency Co-Operative Ltd: Available assistance includes food vouchers, material aid and utility aid. You must be Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or must have Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children in your care. Call 1800 993 783 for appointments.
Area specific supports and services
Heidelberg West and Surrounding Suburbs
- Bayule Support & Information Centre: Prioritising postcodes 3079, 3081, 3084, 3085 for emergency food relief. Call 9459 5959, Mon-Fri 10am-3pm
City of Whittlesea
Financial assistance to residents of Whittlesea in crisis re: bills, housing, food, transport, medical expenses.
Call 9401-6644 Monday to Friday
City of Darebin
Providing weekly grocery vouchers, food parcels and pre-made meals to households.
Call the DIVRS phone service on 9480 8200, Monday – Thursday between 9.30am -12.30pm. You may need to leave a message with your name and someone will return your call.
Their website lists a range of supports including financial, emergency housing support and wellbeing resources. Click here for a condensed quick list.