The coronavirus pandemic has slashed Launceston City Mission's income by half and forced the organisation to stand down dozens of staff without pay, the charity's chief executive Stephen Brown has confirmed.
He said City Mission shops across Northern Tasmania saw massive reductions in trade during the month of March and had to be closed down as the COVID-19 risk increased.
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"As they reduced and dwindled to virtually nothing we had to take the action to stand down approximately 50 staff who were involved with those businesses," Mr Brown said.
"Our income as an organisation dropped by about 50 per cent, which is just really significant for an organisation that tries to stretch every resource we've got so we can do the most in the community."
Mr Brown said youth services and programs for children experiencing trauma, loss and grief were among that which had to cease because of COVID-19.
"In the process of the state progressively becoming more locked down we weren't able to support children in the schools anymore because schools weren't having any visitor on site," he said.
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Some services, such as those which offer emergency relief or help the homeless, are continuing because they are funded directly by state or federal governments.
While City Mission was no longer accepting donations of clothes, Mr Brown said the service continued to accept donations of supermarket supplies that were non-perishable.
He said discussions had been occurring with the Tasmanian government, about how to ensure vulnerable community members could continue to access support with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
"We're aware of the JobKeeper stimulus and we're applying for that," Mr Brown confirmed.
"We hope to be able to support our staff more in the future, as soon as we get some clarity around that."
As part of its economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has promised to spend an extra $5 million on helping vulnerable community members.
The new money will be spent on a range of services including emergency accommodation, food for the elderly and community members in need, access to technology and no interest loans for families with low incomes.
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