This week is National Volunteer Week and here at the Tenants’ Union we are pretty lucky to have some amazing people donating their wisdom and time to our cause. Volunteers run our advice line and I mean RUN not walk. Every day we receive about 20 calls from people seeking our advice. Within 24 hours they will all be called back, in 87% of all cases by one of our volunteers. In the last financial year volunteers combined worked 6.2 shifts of around three hours every week. That is a total of 939 hours of donated expert time. These volunteers helped 1961 tenants with their tenancy issues, ranging from questions about notice periods, enquiries about repairs to assistance on how to proceed in case of an upcoming eviction.
Many people would be in serious trouble without you!
Yet, to ensure every tenant receives the best advice possible, we need to make sure our volunteers are properly trained and supervised. At all times, there is a lawyer in our office, advising volunteers on more complex or out-of-the-ordinary cases.
Many of our volunteers are law students, who acquire some of their first real life application of law experience with us.
To provide both expert advice to tenants seeking our help and provide legal experience for our volunteers it is essential that we maintain or increase our current level of legal staffing.
The Commonwealth Government plans to cut funding for Community Legal Centres across Australia by 30% in July 2017. For us a 30% cut in Commonwealth funding would mean, that we would have to let one of our part-time lawyers go. Support Community Law Australia’s #FundEqualJustice to ensure both tenants and volunteers get the support they deserve.