An increase in government support during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in less people calling St Vincent de Paul for help, but volunteers believe it will be short-lived.
Calls to St Vincent de Paul's welfare assistance line have dropped nearly 75 per cent in Warrnambool amid COVID-19.
St Vincent de Paul's Glenelg regional council president Chris Pye said the substantial drop off was due to people being better supported by government benefits.
Australian JobSeekers are receiving a $550 boost to their fortnightly welfare payments for six months in of one of the largest increases to social security benefits in history.
Mr Pye said the payment increase meant more people were no longer turning to St Vincent de Pauls for help.
"Of course there are still people falling through the cracks that we are helping out and who are still utilising Food Share here in Warrnambool, but there is still a large percentage of people who are being better supported by an increased Newstart allowance," he said.
"But when the government funding stops or is suddenly cut back and you've been used to spending a certain amount of money, it is not going to end well."
Mr Pye said the Newstart allowance was "incredibly low" prior due to pandemic.
"Particularly for people whose rent, electricity and gas bills have increased. They were really squeezed substantially," he said.
Mr Pye said the coronavirus had left thousands of people without work in the south-west and while the government was helping them to survive, it was only a short-term fix.
"I would hope that the government sees that all of a sudden people are no longer calling for assistance, they've got this extra money, so there is clearly a correlation between those two factors," he said.
"The extra money is helpful now but where does it leave people when it suddenly stops?."
Mr Pye said he anticipated a lot of the unemployed would seek help from St Vincent de Paul once the government subsidies stopped or dropped.
"The money will stop and a lot of part-time jobs that have been affected, will continue to be affected. Where will they work when the restrictions are removed? How will they be able to cope with a very low Newstart allowance under those circumstances? It is a scary prospect."
Mr Pye said the majority of volunteer call takers were currently isolating at home.
"Our age bracket of volunteers is 70 and over and we have been keeping in contact with them because we hope they will return when that influx (of calls) comes again," he said.
"In Warrnambool we have been really fortunate in getting some young people to help deliver food and vouchers. We say well done to them and hope we can get more in that (younger) age bracket to help us when things start to get really busy again."
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