Stressed Aussies using simple way to get help
More Australians are searching for help than ever before, with a national online charity directory reporting unprecedented usage since the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.
Ask Izzy, a free website that connects people in need with nearby support services, has seen searches up 60 per cent more than the same time last year.
Users connecting with the app, which has more than 370,000 health and welfare services listed, are accessing details to get assistance with food, housing, money, family violence support and counselling.
The not-for-profit initiative has just been given an additional $685,000 by the Morrison Government, allowing it to continue to help stressed individuals and families to connect to support services sooner.
Developed by Infoxchange with founding partners Google, realestate.com.au and News Corp Australia, Ask Izzy was co-designed with people who have experienced homelessness and leaders in the homelessness sector.
Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs said the financial support will enable Ask Izzy to improve its response in times of crisis, and provide more guided support and up-to-date information.
"Ask Izzy users will be able to access a wide range of support services in response to the coronavirus pandemic to aid in their physical, mental and financial wellbeing," he said.
The funding will also allow Ask Izzy to share data insights from searches to help the community and government better respond to peoples' needs.
"Searches for food more than doubled in a single week in March at the beginning of the pandemic," Mr Spriggs said.
"And searches for Centrelink locations nearly quadrupled the following week when Australians registered for JobSeeker payments."
News Corp Australia Community Ambassador Penny Fowler said that with so many people struggling across Australia, there has never been a more crucial time from Ask Izzy.
"Now more than ever we need to help shine a light on Ask Izzy for people searching for assistance to get through these challenging times," she said.
"It is great to see this support from the government which highlights the importance of collaboration and cross sector partnerships between not-for-profits, corporates and the government to tackle vital issues such as homelessness together."
Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said Ask Izzy is providing a vital service to the community.
"During these unprecedented times it is important people know what support is available to them," she said.
"The Morrison Government is committed to helping Australians through the pandemic and by supporting the Ask Izzy website we're connecting Australians with a variety of crucial government, charitable and other services, such as emergency relief providers, housing services and counselling."
The Ask Izzy website has already been updated with coronavirus support information including links and phone numbers for national and state-based information resources as well as the locations of COVID-19 testing clinics across Australia.
Originally published as Stressed Aussies using simple way to get help