New rent and utility loans as pandemic poor inundate charities
One of Australia’s leading charity groups has revealed they are offering government loans for rent and utilities after a huge increase in calls for help from people who normally wouldn’t use welfare.
Good Shepherd has expanded its services to offer $3000 household relief loans without interest and financial counselling to those impacted by the pandemic.
Provided in collaboration with the Australian Government, the loans are specifically for rent and utilities. The amount is paid directly to the landlord or utility company. The team at Good Shepherd will also work with the individual by offering financial counselling services.
Loans can be repaid over 24 months.
Whilst Good Shepherd has been helping women and families with no-interest loans for almost the last 40 years, they were smaller amounts, primarily for household white goods or emergency mechanic repairs etc.
Good Shepherd’s CEO, Stella Avramopoulos said: “People need safe, reliable information and support to help them navigate the multiple challenges they are facing”.
The loans have been developed in direct response to Good Shepherd being inundated by calls from people needing financial help with these expenses as they have been impacted by the pandemic – often people who have not had to ask for help before.
The Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston said: “This additional funding will help around 40,000 Australians access immediate financial relief to help pay household bills. Better access to emergency relief services means less reliance on high-risk, high-interest loans to get people through these tough times”.
Ms Avramopoulos said Good Shepherd are assisting people not only in financial trouble, but also with significant social vulnerabilities.
“About 20 percent of people have a social vulnerability including family violence, disability, gambling, mental health, relationship or substance abuse issues. Half have a financial vulnerability, including financial hardship and financial disadvantage and only 16 percent could meet an unexpected expense of $2000,” she said.
Good Shepherd’s smaller, no-interest loans are still continuing, for amounts up to $1500 for whitegoods, washing machines, fridges, school needs, furniture etc. These loans are for people who are on a healthcare card or who earn less than $45K per year.
You are eligible for a rent and utilities loan if you are:
- 18 years or over
- Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or hold a valid visa that expires after the loan term.
- Have a before-tax annual income of less than $60,000 if you are single, or less than $100,000 for couples or people with dependents.
- Have lost your job, had income reduced, moved onto Centrelink payments after March 2020 or been otherwise financially impacted by Covid-19.
- Have reduced income if you’re self-employed.
To access a financial conversation and to assess eligibility or apply for a household relief loans without interest, phone 1300 121 130.