ANGLICARE has praised the State Government’s decision to fund more financial counselling services in the southeastern corridor.
The Government recently announced it would provide funding to increase free financial counselling services, with Byford, Canning Vale and Cannington among suburbs targeted as priority areas.
In an interim arrangement for 2017-18, Anglicare will provide this service and assess applications for payments in partnership with UnitingCare West.
Anglicare southeast metro services manager Linda Jenkins said the help was a relief given current services were under duress.
“All the evidence of our financial counselling prior to the extension of the services shows they were being really over-subscribed and not able to cater to the demand,” she said.
Ms Jenkins said Byford in particular deserved to be prioritised as services were already stretched to their limits.
“Byford is an area of great need; there’s been a huge expansion in first-home owners housing out that way, there’s a lot of mortgage stress,” she said.
“Now there’s unemployment and a downturn in the mining sector, it means a lot of those families are having mortgage stress because they’re down to one or no income.
“Out in Byford particularly, this extension of the service is going to be well-tended and well-subscribed and it’s going to take the pressure off the financial counsellor we provide in Armadale, who has been inundated with requests.”
Ms Jenkins said the new services would also alleviate pressure in Cannington and while Canning Vale was considered a more affluent area, its residents still dealt with financial problems.
“There’s a lot of families in Cannington who are living on Centrelink benefits; they’re already living on some financial stress so dealing with unexpected expenses which come up can’t be met,” she said.
“There are pockets of affluence in Canning Vale, but as our evidence shows even in affluent areas there is mortgage stress and financial hardship. It’s not just restricted to people on benefits.
“If there’s a downturn in the economy and people suddenly find themselves unemployed, they might have levels of debt they’re not able to service and I think Canning Vale is evidence of when people lose their jobs their debt levels are quite high and they’re not able to meet that.”