Community support

Emergency food relief

In these unprecedented times, many Canberrans of all backgrounds may need some extra support.

The ACT Government recognises this and have put in place a number of initiatives to support vulnerable Canberrans at this time.

You can apply for emergency relief by filling out an application for support.

Domestic and family violence support

If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

If it is not an emergency and you are worried about your safety or the safety of your family, you can call:

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The impact of COVID-19 may put some people at greater risk of domestic and family violence.

This includes physical and non-physical violence.

Community Service Information

The Community Service Directorate provides a range of resources, advice and support to assist Canberrans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit the Community Service Information hub for information on support for seniors, homelessness, people with disabilities, children and family related services, and much more.

Mental Health Support

Feeling confused and uncertain about the future is a normal, understandable reaction at a time like this. There are different ways of coping, but one important aspect of how we cope is to remember that we are not alone in how we feel.

Visit our Mental Health and Wellbeing page for tips, links and resources to help you at this time.

Support for temporary visa holders

The ACT Government is helping temporary visa holders and international students during COVID-19.

Many people on temporary visas are not eligible for Job Keeper.

We are providing $450,000 to support these Canberrans.

This funding will help those who are unable to go home, work, or receive Australian Government support.

It will also help with the basics, so people can survive this period.

The funding will be managed through a partnership between:

  • ACT Government
  • ACT Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Humanitarian Coordination Committee (RASH), including Companion House
  • Australian Red Cross
  • local tertiary institutions.

Here is a summary of the funding allocation:

  • RASH Coordination Committee will receive $140,000 to help asylum seekers living in Canberra
  • The Red Cross will receive $160,000 to assist other temporary visa holders
  • The Red Cross will receive $150,000 to help international students

For Canberrans seeking asylum, please contact Companion House Reception on (02) 6251 4550.

This office is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10am to 5pm.

You can also email Companion House at

You need to have lodged a protection application with Department of Home Affairs.

For Canberrans on other temporary visas, please contact the Red Cross ACT Migration Support Program HUB on (02) 6234 7695.

You can also email Red Cross at

This includes people on:

  • bridging visas
  • Safe Haven Enterprise visas
  • Temporary Protection visas
  • temporary work visas
  • family visas.

If you are an international student, please get in touch with your institution.

Australian Catholic University
Office of the Campus Dean
Phone: (02) 6209 1129 (during business hours)

Australian National University
Student Wellbeing Portfolio

Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT)
CIT Student Association
Phone: (02) 6207 3600 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 2pm)

Charles Sturt University (CSU)
CSU’s Welfare and Finance Officers

CSU Student Counsellors
Phone or text to make an appointment: 0448 860 385

University of Canberra
Student Welfare
Phone: (02) 6206 8841 (during business hours)

University of New South Wales Canberra
Manager, Equity and Diversity
Phone: (02) 8263 8688

Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and humanitarian entrants can also get help through the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services Emergency Relief Fund.

To find out more, please visit the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services website.

acknowledgement icon
Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: May 22 2020