Bushfire response, relief and recovery FAQs
How do I access support?
We are deeply concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable people in our community and are working hard to do what we can with other available resources.
In Australia, there are strong laws that govern how donated funds can be used. These rules ensure that all charities are transparent and accountable to the Australian public.
Donations given to The Salvation Army’s November 2019 bushfire Disaster Appeal can only be used to help people impacted by the 2019-2020 fires. This is in line with our declared public intention and accountability in ensuring that money donated gets to those people and communities.
Salvation Army disaster assistance provides support in three stages:
The first stage is emergency response during the crisis and in the immediate aftermath. Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) teams activate at evacuation centres to respond to needs on the ground. Meals and refreshments, care packs, bedding, referrals, counselling and financial assistance are just some of the ways we help.
The second stage is an initial assessment and provision of emergency funds.
The third stage is recovery. This is the longest stage where more financial support is provided for those who have been severely impacted by the disaster.
We stand by communities for the long haul.
Our experience in meeting personal hardship resulting from disaster tells us that a significant portion of donated funds will need to be spent in the recovery stages – that is, anywhere from now up to two to three years.
We have established a dedicated Bushfire Recovery Team (BRT) to support those impacted by the fires, which is nationally coordinated and locally embedded.
The BRT is leading the Salvos’ engagement with federal, state, regional and community groups.
The Salvation Army’s Bushfire Recovery Team’s services include financial assistance and counselling; a dedicated telephone line where workers can assess and deliver material aid; outreach workers embedded in local communities and; caseworkers based in communities to deliver holistic assistance, including financial, emotional and psychological responses.
We also offer the following recovery grants:
- A hardship recovery grant that provides assistance to individuals and families experiencing ongoing extreme hardship as a result of the bushfire disaster.
- A significant loss grant that provides assistance to individuals and families in bushfire impacted areas who have:
- had to spend extensive periods of time evacuated from their place of residence
- suffered from extended loss of essential services, such as water and power
- experienced other significant property damage or income loss due to their place of work being damaged or destroyed
- A total loss of residence grant that provides assistance to individuals and families in bushfire impacted areas whose primary place of residence (owned or leased) has been destroyed or left permanently unliveable.
Further information about these recovery grants can be found here.
Yes, the focus of The Salvation Army’s work, now in the recovery stage, is to provide support to people who have lost everything, including their homes. A Total Loss of Residence Grant is now available as part of our phase one recovery grants. This grant provides assistance to individuals and families in bushfire impacted areas whose primary place of residence (owned or leased) was destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable.
The Salvation Army received $41 million in donated funds. As of 25 May 2020, more than $21.4 million has been distributed so far, with $18 million in new grants to be distributed now and over the next three years. The Salvation Army has also committed $1.5 million to support families in New South Wales with temporary homes.
More information around how we’ve helped can be found in our six-month bushfire Disaster Appeal report.
With your help, we have provided:
- Over $21.4 million in direct financial assistance to over 11,691 Australians affected by the bushfires
- The Salvation Army Emergency Services team provided services and support at over 290 locations, including evacuation, relief and recovery centres
- More than 250,000 meals prepared and served, and over 220,000 light refreshments provided to first responders and evacuees
Our SAES teams assist first responders and displaced people with food, refreshments, personal care packs and support.
The SAES is a national 24/7, state-of-readiness service. Through this bushfire season, the team has been supported by a network of 3000 personnel, including trained volunteers, working four to eight-hour shifts on a 24-hour rotation.
- Provided services and support at over 290 locations, including evacuation, relief and recovery centres.
- More than 250,000 meals prepared and served, and over 220,000 light refreshments provided to first responders and evacuees.
We understand the need for accountability and are committed to transparency and reporting.
The Salvation Army will keep good faith and we will be good stewards of all that has been entrusted to us. The money is not for us, it’s for the benefit of those Australians who have been impacted by this disaster.
While we acknowledge that donors are anxious to see all the money in action immediately, recovering from disaster is not a fast or straightforward process. We need to ensure we have the capacity to provide support for those affected in the short-term as well as for the coming months and years as they seek to rebuild their homes, lives and livelihoods.
To understand more about the responsibility of charities, how they are regulated and how accountability and integrity is maintained, read Bushfires generosity will not be betrayed by charities by Hon Dr Gary Johns.
The national Bushfire Disaster Appeal will not incur internal costs of fundraising or administration. The cost of governance, auditing and reporting will be no more than 2 per cent. At least 98 per cent of funds received will reach those who need it most.
Unfortunately, we are not able to help wildlife groups, due to our DGR status. This means we are only able to help people in need.
Under The Salvation Army’s DGR status, financial donations cannot be used for broader community projects, such as rebuilding or repairing sporting clubs, community neighbourhood centres, wildlife recovery or environmental rehabilitation.
The Salvation Army responds to natural and man-made disasters including bushfires, floods, storm damage, earthquakes, cyclones or prolonged drought.
Donations can be made online, by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or at Salvos Stores.
You can continue to support SAES teams with an ongoing regular donation. This will allow us to be ready to act immediately when disaster strikes, and to provide long-term support to those impacted. Visit salvationarmy.org.au/regulargiving