With around 3000 residents stuck in nine Melbourne housing commission blocks in a “hard” coronavirus lockdown, the Victorian Government has announced a slew of support measures to help them financially.
No rent will be charged to those living in the towers for the next two weeks.
Those who are employed and cannot go to work will receive a $1500 hardship payment.
Unemployed residents will receive a $750 hardship payment.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the financial support in a press conference this morning.
“First things first, there will be no rent charged for those tenants for the next two weeks,” he said.
“Secondly, those who are employed, and because of the hard lockdown cannot go to work, they will receive a $1500 hardship payment.
“For those households where there is no-one in employment, they will receive a $750 hardship payment.
“And there will be – and it’s already started – public health workers, nurses and others moving throughout each and every one of these floors and each and every one of the towers to test every resident, except of course those who have already been tested and have tested positive.”
The stranded housing commission residents also may also be provided with free food and entertainment.
Mr Andrews spoke of meals and kitchens ramping up to feed the 3000 residents who aren’t allowed to step outside their doors.
“There is much more advanced care and support with meals and stuff today as we ramp up kitchens and other important services,” he said.
Earlier, the Premier announced on Instagram that activity boxes with Lego, games and puzzles would be delivered to all kids in the nine blocks.
Many residents also don’t have access to internet, but the Victorian Government is looking to change that as they fend off boredom.
“We’re having conversations with Telstra and others about whether there are some Wi-Fi solutions, whether there is internet connectivity solutions that we can bring to these towers,” Mr Andrews said.
“That is not finalised, but I think that that gives you a sense that whether a right to a long list, try to be as creative and innovative but also listening to residents as well.”
Residents can get groceries and other essential items by speaking to a community leader.
“There are many, many different needs,” Mr Andrews said.
“It is a very diverse community. Any community of 3000 people that have lots of different needs.
“I can assure you there is everything from social work, mental health support, drug and alcohol support, all the way through to the basics that are practical, from nappies and food, we have basics put in there last night.”
Originally published as Free rent for tower lockdown residents