More than $250,000 has been raised in support of 3000 people subject to a hard lockdown in nine public housing towers in Melbourne amid surging coronavirus cases.
The fund was established by the Victorian Trades Hall Council on Saturday after Premier Daniel Andrews announced the 1345 units in Flemington and North Melbourne would be closed.
Residents from Saturday afternoon were not permitted to leave their home for any reason, unlike those in 12 other Melbourne postcodes, who can leave for four essential reasons.
The trade union body announced in its set-up of the fund that it would “do whatever is needed to support residents”.
“Be it employment advice, representation or financial support, we will work in solidarity to get people through.”
A total of $248,298 has been raised in just one day, with 100 per cent of funds to be donated to meet the needs of residents confined to the towers for at least five days.
The council said on Sunday it had been amazing to see the outpouring of support and that so many people had contributed financial support.
“Funds will be disbursed in consultation with the Victorian Multicultural Commission, community groups and residents and their representative associations and in consultation with community services support, and the Government,” a post to Facebook read.
“The fund is overseen by Victorian Trades Hall Council and a final report on the distribution of the funds will be publicly available.”
The “high density” towers in Flemington and North Melbourne are home to “some of the most vulnerable people in the community”.
The addresses of four towers in Flemington were revealed, including 12 Holland Court, and numbers 120, 126, and 130 on Racecourse Road.
In North Melbourne, five addresses were listed, including 12 Sutton Street, 33 Alfred Street, 76 Canning Street, 159 Melrose Street, and 9 Pampas Street.
The premier on Sunday issued a message to the thousands of people bound by the hard lockdown, assuring them that the measures taken were “not about punishment, they’re about protection”.
Mr Andrews addressed concern for residents who did not get the opportunity to do their weekly shopping before the hard lockdown was enforced, after some likened conditions to a prison.
“We will get to every single person what they need. That can’t be done instantly. It does take time. We are all working as hard as we can to protect those residents, to support those residents, and to protect public health more broadly,” he told reporters.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.