The Salvation Army – Financial Mentoring

In 2022, with help from the Sutherland Self Help Trust, the Salvation Army provided Financial Mentoring services for communities in Manukau and Mt Wellington. With a large percentage of participants being female, and a high percentage of both Maori and Pasifika than other ethnicities. They trialed basing a financial mentor in South Auckland one day a week at a Transitional Housing development. The goal was to increase participation in the Financial Mentoring programme and increase accessibility (many whānau also have transport difficulties). The uptake and engagement has increased and, as a result, has been a key factor in securing long term housing and sustainable tenancies for many participants. They have seen instances of irresponsible lending and the advocacy has resulted in full debt being written off. The Financial Mentor (Hamilton) works closely with a local transitional housing provider and each term completes 4 on site visits whereby budgeting and debt sessions are held with the occupants putting together a budget as they go, educated on ways to save money and avoid the debt trap, or how to handle existing debt.

The most significant debt write off was for a solo mum who had been coerced into taking debt by her abusive partner over a period of several years. She is now free of that relationship. Debt of $60,000 was written off via Bankruptcy removing significant stress and allowing her to focus on restoring both her life and family. Thereafter, with the assistance of a social worker she has regained custody of her children and now has full time paid employment is no longer on a benefit. The debt resolution was a key plank in restoring her life, her family and importantly her confidence and self-esteem.

A client has been working with a financial mentor since 2021, and has been supported with food parcels weekly in order to pay down considerable debt. Their partner is on the Job Seeker benefit. They had debt with Avanti and were empowered to contact them and ask for applied for hardship consideration to reduce their weekly payments. They were also assisted to apply for a no interest loan in Jan 2022, unfortunately their debt was too high to meet the criteria and the application was declined. The client now only has two debts left to pay off totaling $3100. In March 2023 Financial Mentor again assisted them to apply to Nga Tangata Microfinance for a GET CONTROL loan up to $3000 (no fees, no interest) and due to the reduction in overall debt and record of repayment they were successful. The client is feeling relieved they can finally have the Avanti loan and previous rental debt both paid. These debts have been ongoing for several years due to fees and interest. The calculated repayments for Nga Tangata Microfinance are $30 week, giving him an extra $100 per week and leaving his budget in surplus for the first time!

Both stories showing tangible impact of Financial Mentoring programme at work in the Community.

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