TWO central Victorian agencies are planning to make financial assistance more accessible to Macedon Ranges residents, after a shift in federal funding.
But Cobaw Community Health's concerns about local access to emergency relief remain, with uncertainty around how much funding would flow to the region and how it would be delivered.
CatholicCare Sandhurst will provide staff who work in Kyneton with additional training to assist Macedon Ranges residents experiencing financial stress. It will also employ a financial counsellor to address the underlying issues.
Haven; Home, Safe is also considering making a worker available in Kyneton.
It comes after the federal government ceased funding Cobaw Community Health to deliver emergency relief.
The not-for-profit organisation had been delivering the Department of Social Services program for 15 years, providing food and petrol vouchers and helping residents experiencing financial hardship pay utility bills.
But the 2018 procurement process saw a number of other agencies funded to deliver emergency relief.
They included Haven, CatholicCare, The Salvation Army, Uniting, and Community Information and Support Victoria.
Cobaw Community Health chief executive Margaret McDonald said the organisation was previously allocated $60,000 a year to provide emergency relief across the Macedon Ranges, which directly helped more than 20 people a week.
Ms McDonald feared emergency relief would not be as simple for people to access.
She said Cobaw had "great concerns" that allocating the funds to large organisations not based in the region would disadvantage community members in need of urgent financial help.
"Cobaw will continue to work with these organisations to ensure that the emergency relief funding allocations are delivered in the Macedon Ranges," Ms McDonald said.
"We know there is a need as we see evidence of it every day... we want to be able to reassure them that assistance is still available."
A departmental spokesperson last month said there had been no reduction in funding for the Bendigo area, in which part of the Macedon Ranges falls, "nor will there be any service gaps... as a result of the 2018 grant round".
The Bendigo region receives $323,394 a year for emergency relief.