“We Still Have a Home… We Have Vinnies to Thank for That”

Wednesday 22 April 2020

The South Pacific nation of Samoa lies seven hours’ flying time from Australia. Its climate, the surrounding waters and the welcoming people make it a popular tourist destination. However, the lack of job opportunities sends many Samoans to live and work overseas.

Rosa moved to Sydney for work in 1993, settling in a south-western suburb and has since had two children here, now aged 7 and 12.

Rosa worked hard, earning enough to cover rent and household expenses, and sending some money back to her family. Two years ago she received the devastating news of her mother’s passing. At the time Rosa was working as a cleaner at a Sydney motel.

While the work was casual, it was regular and Rosa’s diligence was praised by her superiors. She assumed her job was secure, or that good references would help her find another position if she ever needed it.

By March this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic moved into Australia, Rosa had been at her job nearly three years.

When the economy started to shut down, the motel began losing its guests and Rosa lost her job. She was terminated at short notice with no severance pay.

Like many other newly-unemployed people, Rosa went to Centrelink, where she learned she would have to wait at least a month to receive an entitlement. But her rent was already in arrears and was due again. With two children about to be isolated at home, she felt desperate in a way she had never been before.

“I went into Vinnies because their office was close by,” Rosa says. “I just wondered if they might be able to help.”

Always there in times of need, we helped Rosa cover her back rent and ensure the family could remain in the home while she worked on adapting to their changed situation. Life isn’t easy, but the tight-knit family now feels secure enough to face the future.

“It’s still a struggle to pay bills, buy food for the kids and so on,” Rosa says.

“But we’re not going to get tossed out of our home, and we have Vinnies to thank for that.”

The impact of the coronavirus is being felt by many people like Rosa, who never dreamt they might need the help of charities to make ends meet… until they lost their jobs at short notice and had scant savings to cover essentials.

Vinnies stands ready to help when things turn tough. As well as providing our services for people in need, we are advocating to Government for all people to be supported through the coronavirus crisis, and no one left behind.

If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty due to the coronavirus, you can call Vinnies for support on 13 18 12.

To help support people impacted by this pandemic, make a donation today.