Fact Sheets: Addressing Social Issue Areas in the Context of COVID-19

Throughout 2020, various Centre for Social Impact team members across Australia produced a series of fact sheets to address specific social issue areas in the context of COVID-19.

Fact Sheet One: Homelessness and COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis will disproportionately affect those that are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness with respect to an increased risk of exposure and a greater likelihood of severe cases and mortality. In our updated response, we share a focus on public health responses and public health consequences.

The economic impact of COVID-19 and responses to it also places an enormous number of Australians at risk of homelessness, paving the way for a vicious cycle if policy levers across a broad range of domains are not fully utilised. Our homelessness policy response to COVID-19 is quite simple: Prevent, House, and Support.

Fact Sheet Two: Loneliness, Social Connection and COVID-19

We have long known that loneliness and social isolation cause people significant emotional pain and can have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. Now, with COVID-19, we are being told to socially distance.

This risks making the problems associated with loneliness worse. It’s important we focus on keeping up social connections even while physically distancing - it’s perhaps our greatest resource and underpins social capital, social cohesion, good health, great neighbourhoods and being a happy human.

Our second fact sheet in the series highlights some short-term tips on how we can be healthy social humans in these unusual times.

Fact Sheet Three: Policy action to protect people with disability in COVID-19

There is an urgent need for the disability and health sectors to develop a coordinated response that protects the health of over 4 million Australians with disability.

This third fact sheet, in partnership with the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health, details the actions needed to protect people with disability and the disability support workforce during COVID-19, with a range of recommendations.

Fact Sheet Four: Digital Inclusion and COVID-19

Australia’s response to containing COVID-19 needs us to be more digitally connected than ever. Yet, more than 2.5 million Australians are not online and many of those who are lack the skills to benefit fully from this connectivity. Affordable access to the internet also remains a key concern, particularly for low-income households.

Many Australian small businesses and organisations are also limited in their digital access and capacity. This fact sheet focuses on the need for access, affordability, and improved ability.

Fact Sheet Five: Community Services Responses to COVID-19

Uniting Vic.Tas and the Centre for Social Impact have been collating data about the strategies UVT has put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. This raft of protective strategies is designed to protect consumers and staff: Restrict, Prioritise and Maintain.

Fact Sheet Six: Home Learning and COVID-19

All over Australia, students are studying and learning at home instead of in schools. For families with school-aged children, home is not just home anymore but also a school. Parents, students and teachers are coming to grips with this new paradigm as they adjust to their home-learning environment. This fact sheet focuses on our vulnerable young people and gives some guidance on relationships, adaptation, and uncertainty.

Fact Sheet Seven: Indigenous Financial Impacts and COVID-19

In 2019, our research estimated that across Australia, one in ten Indigenous people who took our survey were classified as financially secure, based on our framework of financial resilience. The Centre for Social Impact's and First Nations Foundation's policy response to COVID-19 is based on three key strategies: Caring for communities, access to appropriate services, and targeting high-cost lending and misleading advice.

Fact Sheet Eight: COVID-19, Social Isolation and Ageing

Older people are at greater risk of the complications associated with COVID-19 and as a result, they are being asked to socially isolate. However, this brings with it a number of challenges that impact older people’s wellbeing. This fact sheet focuses on supporting the wellbeing of older Australians by ensuring they: meet their basic needs, stay socially connected, and stay physically active.

Fact Sheet Nine: COVID-19 and Youth Unemployment

Social distancing, stay-at-home restrictions, border closures and business closures mandated by the Australian and State/Territory governments to contain the COVID-19 virus have significantly reduced the adverse health impacts we have seen around the world but at the same time have created widespread economic shocks.

This Fact Sheet highlights how these shocks have resulted in disproportionate disruption to youth employment, and outlines how younger people will be more likely to face deeper impacts in their employment with consequent social impacts in years to come.

Fact Sheet Ten: Financial Wellbeing and COVID-19

This fact sheet discusses how the key fiscal policy responses of the Australian Federal and State governments have tried to address the impact of the pandemic on financial wellbeing. While there are some areas for improvement, to date the response from government has protected many of the most vulnerable.

We focus on the nature of the responses – in particular, the way that the responses can be understood as focused on problems, rather than guided by broader principles of what kind of society we want to build and live in.

Fact Sheet Eleven: Using the Social Progress Index to Identify COVID-19 Vulnerabilities

This fact sheet (Version One and Two) shows that the bulk of Federal, State and Territory policy responses to COVID-19 have focused on economic protection - specifically on protecting or supporting businesses.

Understandably, there has also been a large investment in basic healthcare that has been able to support rapid COVID-19 testing as well as necessary hospitalisations. However, there were also policies introduced that may ultimately end up harming Australia’s social progress.

Fact Sheet Twelve: Teacher Wellbeing and COVID-19

Teachers play an important and influential role in the lives of their students, and in many cases, their families, and the community. Their duties and responsibilities extend far beyond meeting learning outcomes, to caring for the social and emotional needs of their students. But who’s looking out for our teachers?

The health and safety of teachers and their families must be a priority as they try and balance the different demands at work and home. Our fact sheet explores the importance of recognition, acknowledgement and support.

Fact Sheet Thirteen: COVID-19 and Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the social determinants of mental health and wellbeing, both through the effects of lockdown, and extended lockdown in Victoria, as well as through the lasting impacts of sudden disruptions to financial stability, employment, secure housing, relationships and social connections.

Even for those who have not previously experienced mental health distress, the pandemic diminishes the known factors that promote optimal social and emotional wellbeing – ongoing experiences of safety, belonging, social and emotional connection with others, and physical health are threatened.