Taking back control
Camille* is a mother of three who was living in a rural town. After leaving an abusive relationship, she wanted to rebuild her life and was referred to VincentCare’s Financial Counselling and Capability at Hume Community Hub.
While she wasn’t in extreme financial distress – working full time in the health industry – Camille couldn’t shake the nagging worry of the debts she held with a credit agency.
She was also seeking the removal of a utilities company default listing which would allow her to access competitive utility options from energy providers as well as needing assistance with school fees that were in arrears.
During the first chat with the program’s Financial Counsellor, Melissa Malyon, Camille shared that with only her salary to keep the household running, she was feeling the financial strain.
Melissa guided Camille to complete a statement of financial position that gave a true picture of her income, expenditure, assets and debts.
Based on the assessment of Camille’s financial situation, Melissa was able to suggest a range of options for her to consider that could assist with her situation. Rather than ruthlessly cutting back on all fronts, Melissa encouraged Camille to take small steps that would help her save more.
On Camille’s behalf, Melissa submitted a well-supported debt waiver request to the credit company for four debts totalling more than $19,000. She also contacted the utilities company with a robust request for the removal of the default listing.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to negotiate a debt waiver and the best part is informing the client that they will no longer be pursued by creditors for payment,” Melissa said.
“Having debts waived is a huge weight lifted, it enables them to have a fresh start and improve their wellbeing significantly. Having debts waived for our clients are a crucial part of their recovery from the trauma they have suffered.”
Camille was overjoyed on receiving the news that both these requests were successful.
“Thank you so much, Melissa. I’ve come home from a hard shift at work and this has just picked me back up again.”
For Camille, these outcomes have been life-changing. Camille told Melissa that she didn’t think an outcome like this was possible, and the program had given her hope for the future and changed her life.
Camille’s dream is to one day purchase her own home, which had seemed such an impossibility before now.
“It’s so wonderful, I can’t believe it! I did a happy dance around my lounge room. I have hope – hope that I can be independent and can work towards an awesome life for my kids and me. What you guys do is give independence, courage and hope to us women.”
In 2020-2021 the Financial Counselling and Capability program assisted 304 clients and has successfully negotiated a remarkable total of over $224,000 in debt waivers for clients.