Helping people through the maze of government forms

Helping people through the maze of government forms

Filling out a form or application can be difficult if English isn’t your first language or you have low levels of literacy. If you don’t have a family member or friend that can help you where do you go?

The Kensington Neighbourhood House has been assisting people to fill out forms and applications for over five years now. Initially the program started with one volunteer helping out for two hours each week. Word spread and demand grew. We now have six volunteers that support the program which means we can offer 12 hours of form filling support to people each week.

One of our volunteers, Barbara Jacobs, has been part of the program since 2015. As a retired legal secretary Barbara has a keen eye for detail and is meticulous in ensuring all documentation is completed accurately. Some of the most challenging and complex forms she helps people with are from the Office of Housing. “These forms are very repetitious”, she says. “I tell people this just so they know why I keep asking the same questions.”

Some of the most common requests we get is to help people with passport applications, housing forms and citizenship applications. Our volunteers are not able to provide legal advice but will try their hand at all most forms. 95% of the time they are successful and people leave satisfied.

Increasingly as more government documentation heads online our volunteers are now also helping people with low levels of digital literacy or those with no internet access.

If you need help with a form telephone the House on 9376 6366 to book an appointment.

To keep up with the demand we are now looking for a few more volunteers to help with the program. Volunteers don’t need any particular qualifications. They just need to have good English, attention to detail, patience and a willingness to help. A second language can also come in handy.

If you would like to volunteer please contact us on the above.

Leave a Message

Your email address will not be published.