Free mobile calls and data will be available to help country South Australians in crisis as homelessness and community services regional agency ac.care steps up support to vulnerable people.
Clients at ac.care’s Mount Gambier and Millicent sites now have access to free prepaid Optus SIM cards to ensure they can remain connected.
“We are constantly seeking ways to boost the diverse support we provide to people as the housing crisis impacts on country communities and people face increased pressures from factors such as homelessness, rental pressure, domestic violence and poverty,” ac.care homelessness and community services manager Trish Spark said.
“We know that access to communications is vital for people in crisis to protect their safety, engage with services, apply for jobs or housing and keep connected with family and friends, especially if they may not have a stable home or personal address.”
Ms Spark said internet-access was vital as services, including Centrelink, have increasingly moved online.
“Mobile data is essential if someone is in crisis and needs to be connected with these services, especially for people in rural and regional settings unable to access services in-person due to having no access to effective means of transport,” she said.
The country specialist has become part of Optus’ Donate Your Data program through its partnership with national charity Good360 Australia.
With an eligible mobile plan, Optus customers can donate some of their unused data to help Australians in need, with the benefits now flowing to ac.care clients as part of the national initiative.
“By giving a mobile service to participants of the Donate Your Data program and inviting our customers to donate their data, we’re providing internet access to the people who need it most,” Optus’ Group sustainability director Helen Maisano said.
“Optus is proud to work with ac.care through its partnership with Good360 so we can continue to help power Australia’s potential.”
Good360’s South Australian partnerships manager Kate Stock said the charity was proud to partner with ac.care.
“Through our partnership with Optus, Good360 has provided six-month Crisis SIM cards to multiple ac.care sites to provide support to a range of vulnerable people, including to youth and country South Australians who are experiencing homelessness,” Ms Stock said.
“Together ac.care and Good360 are contributing to help close the digital divide in regional South Australian communities.”
Good360 has previously partnered with ac.care by providing a range of surplus goods from retailers to benefit vulnerable people and reduce the costs of support programs delivered by the agency in country communities.
“It’s been wonderful to be able to provide vulnerable individuals and families with toys for children, warm clothing for people sleeping rough and pamper packs to provide some dignity to women struggling to pay for essentials,” Ms Spark said.
“This new initiative expands our partnership to ensure people remain connected while we work together to build stability in their lives and help ensure they have safe homes and enough money to live on.”