Over the weekend, Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews announced a hard lockdown at nine housing estates in Flemington and North Melbourne following an outbreak of coronavirus in the area. As of this morning, 53 cases are linked to these estates. The lockdown requires residents to stay inside their homes until at least Thursday, with plans to test every single resident.
The child and family services sector works directly with communities affected by this situation, with these high-density estates home to many families and individuals that use our services.
While the public response to the lockdown and its implementation has been varied, the Centre strongly supports efforts to stop the spread of the virus among an already at-risk community due to the high density of the housing estates. The decision made by the Chief Health Officer is a difficult one, but it is made with the protection of the affected communities in mind.
Through our work with communities living in these estates and their leaders, we know that many individuals and families are affected by chronic health issues, mental health challenges and disability. Each estate houses thousands of residents who share facilities like entries, lifts, rubbish facilities and laundries. Many tenants work in public-facing, essential jobs, coming into daily contact with not only other estate residents but the broader community.
Further spread of coronavirus in these communities would be devastating and potentially deadly.
The child and family services sector is playing a crucial role in Victoria’s response to coronavirus. Our workers are supporting and caring for children, young people, families and their communities affected not just by these lockdowns but by measures implemented across the state.
Organisations that are on the ground in the area will be providing support to tenants in the towers such as Anglicare, Berry Street, Melbourne City Mission, and The Salvation Army. Community Services Officers will be assigned to each of the tower blocks and will be connecting with families over the phone.
Our organisations and workers are coordinating with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, service providers and community leaders to ensure residents affected by the lockdowns receive the best possible care and access to necessary support.
To support children and families in the affected estates, the Centre is calling for:
- Access for social and community workers to provide essential support.
- Appropriate personal protective equipment for workers.
- Food, healthcare and other essential supplies for residents.
- Regular updates in languages other than English for residents.
- The Inner North COVID Response Line is providing information and support to residents in the affected housing estates. Further information is available on 1800 961 054 with an interpreter service available on 131 450.
- DHHS FAQs: Public housing restriction