Government supports Ask Izzy to help people affected by COVID-19
The Morrison Government funds Ask Izzy to help Aussies doing it tough during COVID-19
Ask Izzy is a website that connects people in need nationally with nearby support services, including food, housing, money help, family violence support, counselling and much more.
It is free and anonymous, with over 370,000 health and welfare services listed across Australia.
In the wake of the bushfire crisis and now the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been unprecedented levels of Ask Izzy usage as more people than ever search for help.
With support from the Morrison Government, Ask Izzy, which is powered by not-for-profit social enterprise Infoxchange, will be enhanced to help individuals and families who are facing stress, uncertainty and material deprivation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic connect to support services sooner, and provide faster, more efficient ways of updating service information in times of crisis.
It will also be able to share data insights from Ask Izzy searches to help the community and government better respond to community needs.
Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs said these enhancements will allow Ask Izzy to better respond in times of crisis and will provide more guided support and up-to-date information for people doing it tough.
“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,” Spriggs said.
The site has seen large spikes in usage since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In March and April this year alone, there were over 450,000 searches for help on the site across Australia – around 60% more than the same time last year.
“Searches for food more than doubled in a single week in March at the beginning of the pandemic,” Spriggs said. “And searches for Centrelink locations nearly quadrupled the following week when Australians registered for JobSeeker payments.”
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said that Ask Izzy is providing a vital service to the community during the coronavirus pandemic.
“During these unprecedented times it is important people know what support is available to them,” Minister Ruston 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.
Ask Izzy was co-designed with people who have experienced homelessness and leaders in the homelessness sector, and since its launch in 2016 has been supported by a whole of community partnership.
This includes widespread support from across the community services sector and additional financial and in-kind support from Credit Union Australia, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, NAB Foundation, Telstra Foundation, Victorian Government and Vodafone Foundation.