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Assistance & Support

Housing Assistance

If you are a newly arrived migrant or refugee who requires assistance to access either private or public accommodation, then Spectrum can help . Our staff can help to advise you in your dealings with Public Housing agencies, as well as to assist newly arrived refugees and migrants who are seeking private rental accommodation through Spectrum's Emergency Housing Fund.

Finding Accommodation

Spectrum provides bilingual workers who can assist newly arrived migrants and refugees with finding accommodation in Melbourne.

Spectrum can assist you with:

  • Privately owned rental accommodation
  • Public housing which is owned and managed by the Victorian Department of Human Services
  • Emergency and short term accommodation
  • Affordable Housing Associations

Spectrum can:

  • Explain different housing options
  • Provide information and advice for your situation
  • Assist with filling in forms for both public and private accommodation
  • Provide interpreters

Provide Advocacy services for clients including:

  • References
  • Speaking to Real Estate agents
  • Support letters and submissions for public housing
  • Manage and support clients whilst in short term accommodation
  • Assist newly arrived refugees seeking private rental accommodation
  • Assist older people having difficulties with their current housing to find alternative accommodation through the Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA) program

Should you wish to pursue different housing options by yourself, here are some steps to follow when looking for accommodation

1. Private rental

  • Find the house, flat or unit you want to rent. Look in newspapers under “To Let” and “Share Accommodation” and ask at Real Estate offices
  • Make an appointment with the Real Estate agent to go and look at it
  • If you like it, fill out a tenancy application form.
  • If your application is approved, fill out a residential tenancy agreement.
  • Pay your bond (usually one month's rent) and the first rent in advance. You may be eligible for financial assistance with these from Centrelink.
  • You will then be ready to move in .

2. Public Housing

These flats and houses are available to low income earners and there is usually a long waiting list. Ask at Spectrum for assistance in accessing Public Housing.
Below is a list of housing agencies in the surrounding area that you can contact for advice and assistance:

North East Housing Service
52 - 56 Mary Street
Preston 3072
Tel. (03) 9479 070
Office of Housing
679 High Street
Preston 3072
Tel. 1300 664 977 
Whittlesea Housing
60 Rufus Street
Epping 3076
Tel. (03) 8401 1385
Women's Information Support and Housing in the North (WISHIN)
260A High Street
Northcote 3070
Tel. (03) 9482 470
VincentCare Victoria
175 Glenroy Road
Glenroy 3046
Tel. (03) Phone 9304 0100
600 Plenty Road
Preston 3072
Tel. (03) 9471 4522

Immigration Assistance

Spectrum MRC offers free immigration assistance to refugees/humanitarian entrants who have been in Australia for less than 5 years.
Assistance is provided in cases where clients are seeking to propose family members through the Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) or to sponsor family members through the Family Program.
New clients have to present at Intake (link), where they are assessed by Settlement Support Worker. If eligible, clients are referred to one of Registered Migration Agents (MARNs: 0003269; 1170469; 0428942; 1463349; 1463743).
Immigration assistance is regulated by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). Code of Conduct can be found at
You can also contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to find out about immigration procedures (131 881 or


Financial Assistance

  • Emergency Relief

Recognising the urgent needs of newly arrived migrants and refugees, Spectrum provides emergency relief services to eligible clients. Please contact one of our offices for more information.

  • No Interest Loans Scheme

Spectrum also provides a “No Interest Loans Scheme” for newly arrived migrants and refugees living in our catchment area. This loan may be for the purchase of essential household white goods i.e. a refrigerator or a washing machine to a maximum value of $1,000, a computer, or for courses as professional development. A repayment schedule is arranged once these are approved.  Spectrum MRC NILS - Guidelines

For further information, please come in and see an Intake Worker 

Intake Service - times and locations

  • Level 1, 306-308 Bell Street, Preston: Monday and Wednesday from 9.00am and only 6 people are assisted per intake day.
    Friday by appointment only.
  • 61 Riggall Street, Dallas: Wednesday and Friday from 9.30am and only 6 people are assisted per intake day.
  • 161 Harvester Road, Sunshine: Monday and Wednesday. Intake service starts at 9:30 and only 6 people are assisted per intake day.


Psychological Support

 Australia is a multicultural society comprising of many migrants from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. In addition to daily life stressors, migrants and refugees can face challenges associated with the experience of conflict and social upheaval in the country of origin, the trauma of migration, and challenges of acculturation. In addition, young migrants and refugees undertake the complex process of adaptation involving the culture of origin and the culture of the host society. In some cases, these challenges can impact on wellbeing.

Spectrum has developed a number of information sheets available in both English and Arabic that aim to increase awareness and knowledge of mental health issues within the Arabic and Sudanese community. These information sheets were designed and developed with input from the Arabic and Sudanese community, ensuring cultural relevance.

Spectrum would like to thank The Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and The William Buckland Foundation for funding this project.

Download Information Sheets (Giving Birth: Important Differences between Australia and your Country of Birth - What is Depression? - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in Arabic and English


Assistance to Community Groups

Spectrum involves itself in many regional community development activities with refugee and migrant communities, to assist these communities to build their capacity to be well organised and to have effective representative voices and bodies.

In addition, the following services are available:

  • Use of Spectrum’s rooms free of charge for un-funded community groups and associations
  • Use of Spectrum’s buses
  • Information & Training Sessions to improve awareness of programs available to communities, as well as building strength of groups
  • Being the funds-holder for grant applications (auspicing funding)