Credit: Caritas Luxembourg

On Thursday 8 October 2020, Caritas Luxembourg presented the results of its Corona-Helpline after five months of operation.

In April 2020, Caritas Luxembourg set up a helpline to respond to calls for help from individuals and families during the confinement period, as well as feedback received at the various Caritas Luxembourg services during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Between 7 April and 31 August 2020, the period during which it operated, the Caritas Corona-Helpline handled 445 requests. 860 people including 308 children received support, through information, referral to other organisations or one-off financial assistance. In total, Caritas Luxembourg provided €267,348.53 in one-off financial assistance. This aid was made possible thanks to the support of many donors.

Among those who received help were many young people: 26.6% were under 30 and 32% between 31 and 40 years old. 39% of applicants with children were single parents. Of those who provided job information, 19.2% worked in the restaurant industry, 13.8% work self-employed / freelancers and 9% worked in the cleaning industry. 67% of the requests received came from individuals or families who, before the crisis, had managed to make ends meet.

To prevent those who called on the Caritas Corona-Helpline and others who will be affected by the economic consequences of the health crisis in the future from falling sustainably in poverty, Caritas Luxembourg has called for action and asked the government to make increased efforts in the fight against poverty and inequality.

More specifically, Caritas Luxembourg advocated the following measures:
- eliminate the many existing tax inequalities
- reintroduce the wealth tax
- reduce income tax in the lower brackets of the scale and increase it in the upper brackets
- permanently adjust the cost of living allowance
- adapt family allowances to changes in prices and wages, from now on and not only at the end of the legislative period
- immediately increase tax relief for single-parent households
- eliminate the three-month internship condition for access to optional health insurance
- increase the social inclusion income (REVIS) taking into account the reference budgets calculated by STATEC
- during a state of emergency, grant the right of access to social assistance also to people without an address but living on Luxembourg territory.

The experience of the Caritas Corona-Helpline and the teams in the field also showed the importance of unconditional support for people who lost their jobs because of the crisis, strengthening the fight against the exploitation of people, access to protective institutions and medical care for all people in Luxembourg, including homeless people and those without a residence permit, and finding quick solutions to affordable rental housing.

Finally, Caritas Luxembourg has also asked that this crisis not be used as a pretext to reduce the amount of official development assistance or to delay the implementation of measures against climate change. The populations of developing countries are heavily affected by both the health crisis and the consequences of climate change; they also need solidarity to survive.