Use the CAB for ev­ery­thing from A to Z

We may live in the dig­i­tal age with in­for­ma­tion mostly at hand but we still need vi­tal help and ad­vice from agen­cies like the Ci­ti­zens Ad­vice Bureau, writes Erin Reilly.

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

Last year my hus­band and I bought our first home. We had to fill in a lot (like, A LOT) of pa­per­work. Most of it needed an ac­com­pa­ny­ing stamp of ap­proval that we were in fact the peo­ple we claimed we were. Sig­na­tures from our mums weren’t go­ing to cut the mus­tard.

The Ci­ti­zens Ad­vice Bureau came to mind. I was fairly cer­tain there would be some­one there who could ver­ify my pa­per­work. But ac­tu­ally, did the Ci­ti­zens Ad­vice Bureau still ex­ist?

The an­swer is ‘def­i­nitely’. The pur­pose of the Ci­ti­zens Ad­vice Bureau is all in the name: ad­vice.

CAB vol­un­teers aren’t spe­cial­ists in any par­tic­u­lar area, but they are ex­perts in find­ing and us­ing in­for­ma­tion, and em­pow­er­ing all New Zealan­ders with im­par­tial in­for­ma­tion and in­de­pen­dence.

The CAB isn’t about solv­ing your prob­lems for you; they make sure that ev­ery Kiwi has ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion they need when mak­ing de­ci­sions.

The CAB is help­ful for a whole range of rea­sons, the most well­known be­ing its Jus­tice of the Peace ser­vices. A JP can wit­ness doc­u­ments like ap­pli­ca­tions for cit­i­zen­ship or Ki­wisaver with­drawals, and pro­vide cer­ti­fied copies of doc­u­ments such as birth and mar­riage cer­tifi­cates.

It’s not easy for mi­grants to set­tle in New Zealand, so CAB vol­un­teers are spe­cially-trained to help them ad­just to their new lives. Some cen­tres also of­fer free pub­lic work­shops.

And if English isn’t your first lan­guage, the CAB Lan­guage Link of­fers ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion in 24 lan­guages.

If you’re in le­gal dif­fi­culty but can’t af­ford the le­gal fees, the CAB can be help­ful for you too.

Free le­gal ser­vices are few and far be­tween, but the CAB works with local le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers to en­sure that ev­ery­one can be fairly rep­re­sented if they need to be.

Balanc­ing ex­penses ver­sus in­come is an art many peo­ple strug­gle with, and most CABs have a close re­la­tion­ship with bud­get­ing ser­vices in their com­mu­ni­ties.

The same goes with emer­gency food aid, so if you or an­other fam­ily in your neigh­bour­hood need a hand with the day-to-day, con­fi­den­tial as­sis­tance from your local food bank isn’t far away.

Maybe you’re strug­gling with your boss or think you’ve been un­fairly dis­missed from your job.

Ask your local CAB for spe­cial­ist ad­vice on em­ploy­ment is­sues. Some also present clin­ics on CV writ­ing, ca­reers coun­selling and pre­par­ing for an in­ter­view.

And if you’re stuck with con­sumer is­sues like buy­ing and sell­ing cars, ap­ply­ing for a loan, or deal­ing with scams or mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion, some CABs can help with these is­sues too.

Of course, don’t for­get that your neigh­bours might be able to help too. You never know; you might un­know­ingly live right next door to a JP! Just ask around on Neigh­bourly.co.nz.

The Ci­ti­zens Ad­vice Bureau is there to help with forms for ev­ery sit­u­a­tion.

Neigh­bourly is a NZ-owned so­cial me­dia site cre­at­ing easy ways for neigh­bours to talk and con­nect. Join us at neigh­bourly.co.nz or down­load our new iPhone and An­droid apps.

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