Have you ever changed your phone number or your address and gone through the process of updating all of your service providers? It’s usually pretty simple, calling or using online channels to update your information with your banking providers, your telco, your energy company, your state traffic authority, insurance providers, medical services and if you’re a parent or carer, all the education and other services that are being provided to your dependants. It’s a long list, but one that usually isn’t too complex or time consuming to get through.
Now, imagine that you are in crisis. You now can’t afford to pay for these services and need to contact the providers one by one in order to access any support that might be available. Each time you make contact, you must explain your scenario, reliving the trauma of your situation repeatedly as you explain your need for assistance. The list becomes harder to get through, and the shame and loss of dignity you might feel, could make it an overwhelming task. In this situation, not making contact or reaching out may seem like an easier alternative.
Only 1% of those impacted by hardship are getting the assistance that’s available
“The numbers do indicate that there is clearly something preventing people from accessing the help they need. Of the 14% of Australians experiencing severe financial difficulty, only 1% are getting the assistance available through hardship programs offered across industries.”
There are many potential reasons for this including lack of awareness, the trust deficit in government and corporate institutions, or the complexity of navigating all of your providers individually and having to following up with multiple government agencies for additional help. There is genuine intent by most organisations to assist, but if we want to see more support being provided to those who need it most, we must come up with a way to increase accessibility.
“At AGL, we believe that the future of supporting vulnerable members of society requires collaboration and partnership across industry and sectors. That’s why we’re proud to be a founding partner of the Thriving Communities Partnership.”
The Thriving Communities Partnership is a cross sector collaboration ensuring fair access to modern day essential services for all Australians. This partnership is unique; bringing together cross industry and cross sector minds to improve outcomes for vulnerable people.
It is through this partnership that the ‘One Stop, One Story Vulnerability Hub’ breakthrough project has been launched with the financial support of AGL and Ernst Young. The vision of ‘One Stop, One Story Vulnerability Hub’ is to be a central point where those who are experiencing financial difficulty can go to in order to access all of their service providers’ support programs and government assistance in one place. In turn removing the need to retell their story over and over again.
The ‘One Stop, One Story Vulnerability Hub’ will act as a connector, bringing the support to the person rather than them having to seek it through complex pathways. The long list becomes obsolete, and instead a much more manageable singular request for assistance is the conduit to help.
This solution requires corporates, government and community organisations to come together to link these services. I’m proud that AGL recognises the benefit of this initiative for our customers and the community, and is providing funding for ‘One Stop, One Story Vulnerability Hub’ to become a reality.
At the recent launch of this initiative, it was heartening to see representatives from a range of sectors including banking, energy and telcos discussing the possibilities of ‘One Stop, One Story Vulnerability Hub’ and we look forward to continued partnership across the group to progress this further.