Help­ing those with big debt

South Canterbury Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ESTHER ASHBY-COVEN­TRY

More than 40 peo­ple have or are be­ing helped out of debt through Chris­tians Against Poverty (Cap) in Ti­maru.

Cap, a non profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, was founded in Bri­tain 20 years ago and adopted in New Zealand 10 years later.

It func­tions by part­ner­ing with lo­cal churches to lift peo­ple out of debt and poverty. The Life Church in Ti­maru started its Cap debt help line cen­tre in 2015.

Church Pas­tor Gor­don Rose­wall said it was a bold step for any­one to make con­tact with the Cap head of­fice and ac­knowl­edge they needed help.

They did not have to have any be­lief sys­tem to get help. From Jan­uary to Septem­ber this year 10 clients sought as­sis­tance.

‘‘It is so easy to get credit...and get more than one credit card which com­pounds the sit­u­a­tion when some­one is al­ready in debt and can­not man­age,’’ Rose­wall said.

Ti­maru Debt Cen­tre man­ager Michella Bros­na­han said Cap NZ han­dles more than $15 mil­lion of debt in New Zealand on be­half of its clients who have un­man­age­able debt.

‘‘We walk with the jour­ney with them...An amount that seems small to some of us might be un­man­age­able to oth­ers.’’

Debt could oc­cur through too many hire pur­chases, or the loss of a job or in­jury. Ninety per cent of clients who be­came debt free stayed debt free, she said.

Though the ser­vice was free it re­quired ef­fort.

‘‘We re­quire the client to show co-op­er­a­tion with us.’’

This meant they had to fish out all their pay­ment con­tracts and other fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion so it could be sent to the Cap spe­cial­ist team of fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors at head of­fice in Auck­land.

The team mem­bers were funded through do­na­tions and trusts. They of­fered a com­bi­na­tion of ad­vice in­clud­ing: fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion, bud­get­ing and in­sol­vency ser­vices.

‘‘The av­er­age time to get out of debt when clients work with us is about two to three years,’’ Bros­na­han said.

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