Urgent money help

Where to get help if you're in crisis

Are you behind on your bills and struggling to cover your rent or afford food? Whatever your situation, there are services that can help you.

Emergency relief

If you urgently need help with living expenses there are charities and community organisations that can help you with:

  • One-off food, transport or chemist vouchers
  • Rent or accommodation
  • Part-payment of electricity, gas or water bills
  • Food parcels or clothing
  • Budgeting or referrals to other programs

 Here is how to find your nearest emergency relief service:

  • Contact the Department of Social Services on 1300 653 227 and ask to be put through to your local emergency relief service (local call cost only).
  • See the directories on the Salvation Army website or call their national number on 13 72 58, or see the St Vincent de Paul website or call their Canberra office on (02) 6282 2722.  
  • Contact your local church, community centre or community organisation and find out where emergency relief is provided in your area.

Important: MoneySmart does not lend money

ASIC's MoneySmart website does not lend money or arrange loans but is happy to answer
your questions about loans and money. Email us at feedback@moneysmart.gov.au or call
ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.

Income support and other social services

The Department of Human Services provides social and health-related payments and services to people going through major change. They can also connect you with housing and other social services.

If you are already receiving Centrelink payments, the Department may be able to arrange advance or urgent payments.

See the Department of Human Services website for more details.

Emotional support and practical advice

You don't have to go it alone. There is free and confidential help available.

Issue Contact details
Crisis support 


13 11 14 (24 hours)

Lifeline's crisis support chat service

Depression or anxiety


1300 22 46 36 (24 hours)

Domestic violence and abuse


1800 737 732 (24 hours).

Drug and alcohol addiction

Counselling online 

1800 888 236 (24 hours)


Problem Gambling website

National Gambling Helpline

1800 858 858 (24 hours)

 Legal advice 

See our  free legal advice webpage for contact details

Health and emotional problems Your local doctor can provide general advice and help and refer you to local services

Your local doctor can also give you support and advice and can refer you to services.

Help with housing

State and Territory Government Departments provide emergency temporary accommodation in low-cost hotels, motels, caravan parks and similar accommodation for people who are homeless or experiencing a housing crisis. They may also be able to help with your rental bond. Contact the housing department in your state or territory to discuss your eligibility.

State Organisation Contact details
ACT Supportive Tenancy Service


02 6207 2427

(Monday to Friday, 9am - 4pm)

Queensland Queensland Government


13 QGOV (13 74 68) (to find your nearest housing service centre)

New South Wales New South Wales Family and Community Services


1300 HOUSING (1300 468 7464)

Northern Territory ShelterMe - a directory of services for homeless Territorians shelterme.org.au
 South Australia Government of South Australia


1800 003 308 (freecall from a landline, 24 hours)

Tasmania Housing Tasmania


1300 135 513

 Victoria  Department of Human Services


1800 825 955 (statewide toll free number 24 hours)

Western Australia Shelter WA Homeless Advisory Service


1800 065 892

Help with debts and bills

Talk to your creditors

Start by contacting your bank, utility or phone provider and let them know you're experiencing hardship. Talk to them about adjusting your loan or bill repayments to a more manageable level. Here are some tips on how to start talking to your credit providers.

If you're finding it hard to pay your phone or internet bill, see the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network's information on staying connected when things get tough.

For more information on managing your bills see problems paying your utility bills.

See a financial counsellor

Financial counsellors give advice on credit and debt issues and can help you negotiate with your creditors. They work in community organisations and their services are free, independent and confidential.

They have a Debt Self Help Online Assessment Tool you can use to start assessing your debts.

Here's how you can find a financial counsellor in your local area.

Don't rush into anything

You may be tempted by quick fix solutions to your problems such as:

Before signing up to any of these talk to a financial counsellor. They can clearly explain your options.

Consider a no or low interest loan

There may be better and cheaper options to manage your debt. See the no or low interest loans webpage to find out more.

If you need urgent help with money, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are services and support available that can help you get through difficult times.

Related links

Last updated: 17 Oct 2016