At times, people find themselves homeless, and short of money. In this situation normally their mobile or home phone are the first thing to go. Unfortunately it is also an important tool to help them get a job, continue a positive engagement with assistance agencies and keep in touch with family, friends and the wider community.
In November 2012 Telstra launched the Telstra Pre-Paid Mobile Recharge Program at Frontyard Youth Services, Melbourne City Mission. At the time, we committed to provide up to $1m per year in $20 Pre-Paid mobile recharge cards for Telstra Pre-Paid mobile customers seeking crisis support through domestic violence and youth homelessness agencies across Australia. Currently over 110 agencies & their networks partner with us in the program.
The impact of this connection is best described by the case workers who distribute the cards on our behalf:
- The Tasmanian Family Violence Counselling and Support Service (FVCSS): Anne was unable to return to her home for safety reasons following family violence; she had no accommodation and no access to a phone. Police temporarily provided her with a mobile phone & FVCSS gave her with one of your prepaid cards. As a result Anne has been able to call police if feeling unsafe, to arrange appointments with doctors, legal aid and interpreters and to access counsellors at FVCSS. The provision of mobile phone credit has enabled Anne to manage her safety and to access services to assist her recovery from the effects of family violence.
- Melbourne City Mission: Our service would call a young person and leave a message to call back, but they couldn’t return the call due to lack of funds. The recharge card works as most young people are pretty good at returning a call or text if they have credit. As far as we are concerned, this initiative can therefore prove invaluable to us with regard to connecting with people who are in need of our assistance.
The Pre-Paid Mobile Recharge Program is just one aspect of Access for Everyone, Telstra’s $2.2 billion ten year long program which assists over one million vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians every month. It’s designed to assist people on a low income or facing financial hardship to maintain telecommunications access and is part of Sustainability at Telstra’s Digital Inclusion commitment to help maintain connections for everyone.
Watch: Telstra’s Access for Everyone program works with the Salvation Army to keep those who are in need connected.