The Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) began in July 2017 with it previously called Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSSS), and Diversitat began caring for the HSS clients in 2008. With 10 staff members, the HSP assists refugees, providing them with nothing but the best support and care to address their needs.
Primarily funded by the Government, the HSP must adhere to the guidelines set out by the Department of Immigration and the Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) when dealing with their clients. This includes helping their clients settle in to the community; ensuring clients receive their Centrelink payments; ensuring health check-ups; finding accommodation through private rental agencies; and enrolling kids in school.
The HSP aims to see their clients happy and settle in to the local community. The HSP will support their clients from the moment they first arrive in Australia, up to twelve months of their arrival.
Children and adult clients have access to a variety of different activities on a weekly basis, which is funded by the Community Development Team. The most popular activities amongst the clients include the sporting activities, such as volleyball, soccer, and surfing.
The Department is most proud of settling large numbers of arrivals in rural areas, especially when there are a low number of clients from a particular country.
In March 2016, the HSP had only 2 Iraqi Christian family clients, but there is now approximately 70 Iraqi Christian families settled in the Geelong region. This is due to the HSP’s diligent work to help their clients upon arrival.
Common success stories amongst the clients include client settlement, participation in activities, and gaining independence shortly after arriving in Australia. Such independence includes being able to look after themselves, and visit their families, some of which live in other states.
Witnessing this success makes staff members “feel great”, as it shows that these experienced staff members all have the same aim to satisfy their client’s needs.
In the future, the HSP is hoping that the number of arrivals will increase, as Diversitat will be able to assist them with high-quality services and programs. This will in-turn maintain the number of staff members and resources at Diversitat.
New refugees in the Geelong region will always find friendly, highly skilled and motivated staff at the HSP, who will go above and beyond to satisfy their various needs. Thus, newly arrived refugees will settle in to their new homes with comfort and fulfilment thanks to the HSP.