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Vinnies WA Financial Counsellors Suzanne Long and Liza Chatteron were part of a team of professionals, who travelled to Cyclone Seroja affected areas to provide support and advice on how people can alleviate financial stress and meet their ongoing expenses.

Appearing on ABC Radio Wheatbelt and the Midwest breakfast program during the trip, Suzanne was able to talk about the types of support available for people through Vinnies WA Financial Counselling and the National Debt Helpline.

“We had several people contact us after the ABC interview and make appointments to speak with us when we were in their town. At Vinnies WA, we have the choice of face to face counselling or we can offer a first point of contact for people through the National Debt Helpline.  Both services are free and confidential for people experiencing financial difficulty.” said Suzanne.

She notes that putting people in touch with a financial counsellor quickly is the key to preventing a crisis escalating.

“Being available for people on the ground after the cyclone meant we were able to provide some immediate assistance with bills, rent arrears and even advance rent payments to people experiencing income and job loss. We found there were a lot of people that didn’t have insurance, were under-insured or even thought they were insured for something they were in fact not. So we provided information on how to access grants and other services in the area.

“One couple we met advised us that they had lost their family resort and restaurant business There was significant damage to their property, along with their family home, car and personal belongings. Rebuilding will take around 18 months, leaving them with no income from the business during this period . We were able to advise the couple on what to do until they could find some employment and the best options for their mortgage and other debts. They were incredibly grateful knowing the next steps they could take to relieve their financial stress.”

For more information, and to contact Vinnies WA face to face financial counselling and the National Debt helpline visit our website.

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