Bushfire Recovery Program

Home > Bushfire Recovery Program

Supporting Aussie Families in Need

Habitat for Humanity Australia has committed to providing recovery services to people affected by the bushfires. Disaster Recovery Team have been on the ground since the smoke cleared restoring hope to communities affected. We are on the ground in New South Wales and South Australia helping salvage and rebuild, to assist homeowners. Our team was there in the aftermath of the 2009 Black Saturday Victorian Fires, the 2013 NSW Blue Mountains Fires and the 2015 South Australian Sampson Flat Fires and with your support, will again be supporting those affected this year. For as long as it takes.

Rebuilding and Restoring Hope for Aussie Families

Thanks to the support of our volunteers and donors we will be able to support more Australian families recover from the Burshfires. See what the program has accomplished thus far and hear what the families have said about the Bushfire Recovery Program below.

Program Outputs

Habitat is committed to providing recovery services to fire affected residents. The free service offered by Habitat involves:

Clean-up, salvage, sorting and piling of debris including homes, sheds and outbuilding, fencing and trees.

Work will be undertaken to improve the living conditions of the family/resident we are helping.

Impact in South Australia & Gardens of Hope

Our Bushfire Recovery Program started in SA  in February 2020 and ended in April 2021. The volunteer teams conducted on average 5-6 recovery days every week and were able to:

  • Complete 251 Recovery Days 
  • Assist 166 property owners (some owners have received assistance on multiple days)
  • 315 volunteers were engaged
  • Key activities included removing debris, removal of damaged fencing and re-planting of vegetation.

Habitat South Australia now has their new program ‘Gardens of Hope’ assisting families who lost their homes in the Cudlee Creek bushfire to re-establish their gardens. Garden of hope will provide visual relief from fire-damaged landscapes and remove the burden from the homeowner of doing all the work themselves. Giving homeowners this support allows them to return to other normal daily activities and in turn provide fire affect community members a significant boost in spirits and morale, as fellow South Australians generously volunteer their time to help those in need.  This project is supported by Bendigo Bank.

New South Wales Impact

Our Bushfire Recovery Program started in NSW in June and the volunteer teams are conducting on average 2-3 recovery days every week for the next few months.

  • 92 Recovery Days completed
  • 44 property owners assisted
  • 637 volunteers engaged
  • Key activities have included removing debris, removal and replacement of damaged fencing, re-instituting irrigation and re-planting of vegetation, and construction of a water and sanitation block.

Impact in Victoria

In Victoria we’re excited to launch ‘Build Back’ – building temporary houses for bushfire affected families so they can have a safe and secure place to live whilst they rebuild their homes.

The Bushfire Recovery Housing pilot program will include the building of three, 2-bedroom temporary houses in the Towong Shire, made from shipping containers.

We’re committed to providing shelter solutions for those that need it most.

Families who have lost everything in the fires need a secure, decent place to live whilst they build back their forever homes. The need is now and we want your support to help build more of these temporary houses. Find out how you can help.

Sinclair & Janet

Sinclair, Janet and their dog Tuva were another family affected by the catastrophic bushfires in South Australia.  Sinclair and Janet have spent the past 37 years pouring their heart and soul into their home so when the fires were getting close, they desperately tried everything to prepare their home in the hopes that it would survive. Sadly there was still extensive damage to their land and home but they were grateful they didn’t lose everything.

Here what they had to say about the Bushfire Recovery Program: “This was the first time we’ve ever needed help. We’ve paid taxes and looked after ourselves, but we really needed help. And organisations like Habitat for Humanity were here for us. It’s not just the work you do, but to know that morally, someone is helping us is overwhelming.”

Annie and Chris

Chris and Annie and their two children were one of the many families in South Australia who lost their home to the devastating bushfires. Here what they had to say about the Bushfire Recovery Program:

 “I’ve never met so many people willing to give up their time. It’s just unbelievable and it blows my mind. The manpower that Habitat has provided…the encouragement and support has been incredible. We can see it here today and without this it would take us so much longer to get back on our feet.

 “Every day is a fight, but today, for the first time in a long time, when I look at the property I am not looking at death. All I can see is new growth.” Annie and Chris are now looking ahead with hope and positivity.

Judith & Paul

Judith and Paul are a couple in NSW who lost everything they own to the 2019 Bushfires. Judith and Paul have led a 100% sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle on their line and have been an inspiration and lectures to many in the art of truly sustainable living.

Judith shares “We have been self-sufficient on this property and we’ve lived that life for 50 years and consequently, as one can imagine. Our whole lifestyle has been destroyed, not just a house, but all the sheds all the tools, all the animals died in the fire. It’s been a real tragedy. But we look at it with our glass half full because we’ve been supported by charities such as Habitat.”

Michael and Senga

Michael and Senga lost their home to bushfires, leaving them with only their caravan to live in but no bathroom. Our volunteers built a water and sanitation block with the couple so that they could stay on their property. Read their story to find out what Michael’s first thought was when he realised he had lost his home of 23 years.

“You go through this period of being very emotional, depressed, and gutted,” says Michael. “It seems sometimes it’s never-ending. But the help has been amazing. I know they don’t like to be called charities; they’d just say, ‘we’re always here to help’. And they were. Everyone has been wonderful.”


Volunteer in South Australia

To volunteer in South Australia please call Natalie on 0419 823 137 to register.

Volunteer in NSW

If you would like to volunteer in NSW please register to receive updates on volunteering days here.

Unfortunately, we do not have any volunteering opportunities available in other states at this time. If the recovery program expands beyond SA and NSW in the future, we will be in touch.

Corporate Volunteering

We are recruiting teams of corporate volunteers for this program. This activity has been registered as COVID Safe with the NSW Government. Please contact Allison Corkhill via email on acorkhill@habitat.org.au for more information or to book in a team!

Find out how you or your organisation can support our Australian programs.