Author: 
Sam Mortimer, QCOSS
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The festive season is a time for relaxation and rest for many. Quality family time is front of mind as another year draws to a close. But the rapid approach of a new year can bring additional pressures as a whirlwind of overdue tasks, bills, or other financial obligations come together before 25 December.

We've taken a look at what support is available to people in need during the Christmas period.

Crisis support

Many community organisations operate with reduced trading hours or close during the holiday period - but you can rest assured that help is still available. While you may need to check with your local neighbourhood centres and services around availability, we have compiled a handy list of phone numbers for more immediate support - including 13Family, DV Connect Crisis Support, Gamblers Help, Lifeline, and many more. You can access the full list here

Disaster relief and recovery support

The Queensland Government is responding to an early and intense fire season, which has already disrupted families and communities across the state. Financial support and services are available for affected residents under the Personal Hardship Assistance scheme. To find out more call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 or access the disaster and emergencies page on the Queensland Government website.

On a national level, the Australian Government's DisasterAssist portal responses to emergencies, disasters and security incidents by providing updates and information local to your searched area. 

The team at Emerging Minds has produced a Community Trauma Toolkit - offering guidance on supporting children and families during and following a disaster or traumatic event. The toolkit navigates how these traumas can have extensive impacts, and how colleagues, educators, community members and service providers can help to lessen these impacts. You can access it here.

Financial support

If you are having difficulty paying your energy bills as summer approaches, the Australian Energy Regulator has recently implemented changes requiring energy providers to have policies around assisting you in times of hardship. Find out more in our blog from November.

Also, see our emergency relief page on Community Door, which has links to information and sources of financial support.

For assistance with safe, fair and affordable credit to help make ends meet you could be eligible for a loan up to $1,500 through the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS). If you have a Health Care or pension card, or earn less than $45,000 a year after tax, a NILS loan may be available to you to purchase or replace essential goods such as fridges or washing machines. Visit the NILS website here.

We wish you a happy and safe Christmas break!

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