Help for people facing debt
Posted: Mon, 24 May 2021 15:56
PRESS RELEASE 20th May 2021
Citizens Advice Charnwood – help for people facing debt
The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic has left millions of people struggling on a reduced income. Many are falling behind on essential bills and getting into debt.
Ian Dennis, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Charnwood said:
'Being in debt is a constant source of anxiety and we never underestimate how it can devastate lives. It is really important for people who feel they can't manage their debt to seek help as soon as possible'.
Over the past year Citizens Advice Charnwood has helped around 280 clients with debt related issues.
Debt adviser, Debbie, said:
'Anyone can find themselves in debt, and for people with mental health difficulties it can be particularly hard to manage. We work with people in all circumstances to find the best solution to their debt problem. It is a real privilege to help people find a way forward and regain their peace of mind.'
Sarah contacted us at the height of the pandemic. She lives alone in social housing and has a recurrent mental health condition. She had been unemployed for some time due to ill health and had accumulated a number of debts including for electricity and rent. Although Sarah's current rent was deducted directly from her benefits, she was facing eviction because of unpaid arrears. Sarah's total debts came to less than £20,000, she had no assets and was unlikely to be able to increase her income in future. A Debt Relief Order (DRO) to clear her debts therefore seemed a possible solution. Sarah accepted that this would have an impact on any future credit but her main concern was to clear her debts and start again.
The Debt Adviser contacted all her creditors who consented to hold off any further action while the DRO was processed. The Council worked with her to support Sarah throughout this time and once the DRO was approved the rent arrears were written off which enabled Sarah to stay in her flat. The Debt Adviser also referred Sarah to our Energy Adviser to help her switch provider and reduce her future bills.
Citizens Advice Charnwood will soon be offering access to the Breathing Space and Mental Health Crisis Debt Respite Schemes. These schemes legally give people temporary protection from most types of debt collection while they take action to get on top of their debts.
If you need help with managing debt and wish to make an appointment with our Money Advice team contact our Local Enquiry line on 01509 649605, Mondays and Thursdays 9.30 am – 3.00pm, Tuesday 9.30am – 12 noon. Information and advice can also be found on the website: www.charnwoodcab.org.uk