When debts start to mount and creditors come knocking on the door, it can be difficult to know who and where to turn to for help and advice.
That’s why A1 Housing and Christians Against Poverty (CAP) have been working together for the last three years to tackle debt and provide solutions that prevent people getting into the same financial distress again.
Since forming a partnership in 2011, A1 Housing has referred 58 tenants to CAP, a registered charity who offer a lifeline to those trapped in debt.
One of those tenants, Joanne Lindsay, said: “I had fallen behind with my rent payments, debts were mounting and the combination of a relationship break-up meant that I was also suffering from depression. Everything just mounted up I suppose.”
“I had three doorstep lenders at the time who were putting a lot of pressure on me and I couldn’t see a way out. I was struggling with everything, putting food in the cupboard, not having heating on, things like that.”
Having been in a controlling relationship that offered Joanne no financial freedom, she had fallen into the trap of secretly borrowing from doorstep lenders.
One of A1 Housing’s Income Recovery Officers had noticed that Joanne was behind with her rent and put her in touch with A1 Housing’s Money Advisor, Adam Mills who took stock of Joanne’s situation and gave her a way out by referring her to CAP.
CAP gave Joanne some space to breathe by setting up a Debt Relief Order, a way to deal with your debts if you owe less than £15,000, have little spare income and don’t own your home.
CAP also provides friendship and a support network, as well as access to other agencies such as Bassetlaw Food Bank and Women’s Aid.
However, despite being a Christian organisation, there is no pressure to be part of religious activities.
“Some people might see that as a barrier,” said Joanne Gibson-Bond, debt coach. “We talk about God, but it’s not a prerequisite and we have clients who are athei