People under financial pressure in Northern Sydney now have greater access to free financial counselling and advice.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today announced the Northern Area Tenants Service has received an additional $180,000 until June 2011 for two new part-time financial counsellors.
This is on top of $200,000 the organisation received in June last year for a new full time financial counselling position.
Ms Macklin and the Member for Bennelong, Maxine McKew today visited the Northern Area Tenants Service in Chatswood to meet the new financial counsellors.
The Northern Area Tenants Service has reported an increase in the number of people in their early forties to early fifties, particularly men, who have recently lost their job or have been out of work for the last 6-12 months.
They have also reported an increase in people on the verge of homelessness and intense financial difficulty in the area.
“These new financial counsellors will help people who have lost their jobs, or who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads to organise their debts, manage the household budgets and plan for the future,” Ms Macklin said.
“It is important that local people have someone to turn to for professional advice if they hit hard times.
“These financial counsellors reach out and support people early to help prevent problems escalating.”
Ms McKew urged locals who were struggling – particularly men in the age group most affected – to seek help from the counsellors.
“I appeal to any men in this situation, especially those supporting families, please do not to suffer in silence.” Ms McKew said.
“If you are facing mortgage stress, credit card debt and personal financial pressures, get in touch and make use of the service.”
“Northern Area Tenants Service’s financial counsellors are already experienced with supporting people who are struggling with job loss or housing pressures.
“They are out in the community and holding education sessions to help people access the service.
“Their support and advice will go a long way to supporting vulnerable people and families make it through difficult times and get back on their feet….
“And they can do this for you too,” said Ms McKew.
The counsellor positions at the Northern Area Tenants Service are funded as part of the Australian Government’s boost of $80.4 million for emergency relief and financial counselling in response to the global economic recession.
New South Wales received an additional $3.3 million over two years for new financial counselling services as part of this package.