Charnwood Citizens Councils urge residents to seek help with debt
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Submitted by Citizens Advice Charnwood
A Charnwood Citizens Advice Service has urged concerned residents to come forward to discuss their debt problems.
Citizens Advice Charnwood said the financial impact of the pandemic has left millions of people struggling with reduced income. Many fall behind on essential bills and go into debt.
Ian Dennis, chief executive of Citizens Advice Charnwood, said debt is a constant source of anxiety and the service does not underestimate how much it can impact lives.
Ian said: “It is important for people who feel they cannot manage their debt to seek help as soon as possible.”
Over the past year, Citizens Advice Charnwood has helped approximately 280 clients resolve debt issues.
Debt Advisor Debbie said, “Anyone can find themselves in debt, and for people with mental health issues it can be difficult 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.”
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Sarah, a user of the service, contacted Charnwood Citizens Advice at the height of the pandemic.
She lives alone in social housing and suffers from a recurring mental health problem. She had been unemployed for some time due to health problems and had accumulated many debts, including electricity and rent.
Although Sarah’s benefits cover her rent, she is at risk of eviction due to unpaid arrears. Sarah’s total debt was less than £ 20,000, but she had no assets and was unlikely to increase her income in the future.
A Debt Relief Order (DRO) to write off her debts seemed like a possible solution. The order would impact any future credit, but Sarah wanted to clear her debts and start over.
The debt counselor contacted his creditors, who agreed to stay all further action while the ballot was being processed.
The council worked with her to support Sarah, and once the DRO was approved, they wrote off the rent arrears, which allowed Sarah to stay in her apartment.
The debt advisor also referred Sarah to the energy advisor to help her switch suppliers and reduce her future bills.
Advice to Citizens Charnwood will soon be offering access to debt relief and breathing space programs in the event of a mental health crisis.
These plans legally provide people with temporary protection against most types of debt collection while taking steps to keep their finances under control.
If you need help managing debt and would like to make an appointment with the Money Advice team, contact the local information line on 01509 649605, Mondays and Thursdays 9:30 am to 3:00 pm, Tuesday 9:30 am to 12:00 pm.
Citizens Advice Charnwood is located in Loughborough, Leicestershire.
Information and advice are available on the site here.
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