Communify has helped 21 vulnerable people clear $20,000 of debt in 7 months, and we’re so excited about it!
What is the debt?
People sleeping rough and at risk are often issued fines or penalties. There are various issues including fare evasion, trespassing, littering, or driving fines. These fines often accumulate, and for a disadvantaged person with limited income, it’s hard to pay any bills at all, let alone penalty fines. When you’re a person dealing with complex personal and relational issues, like homelessness, illness, unemployment, the cycle can get out of control. We help a lot of people whose additional debt and financial stress becomes a huge burden.
So, what happens?
State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) is a government debt management agency whose job it is to collect these unpaid fines. People can often end up with flow-on issues, having thousands in debt, mandatory deductions from Centrelink payments, or losing driver licence. Compounding issues makes it even harder to get back on track. In Queensland, social support services are able to partner with SPER to help these people reduce their debts. This is called a ‘Work and Development Order’.
Here’s where Communify helps.
As soon as we could, Communify signed up as a Hardship Partner with SPER. People attending activities, programs or our neighbourhood centres can work off their debt through participating in community service and joining therapeutic programs and groups. We have the continued support and assistance from the Community Engagement Team at SPER who work with us closely to answer any questions and help us as needed. This has been a valuable and accessible partnership.
Since August 2020, we have helped 21 people reduce debts of $19,894.56 AND the associated stress.
- 13 people who attended Drug and Alcohol Treatment through Springboard worked off $9,797.49
- 5 people who did unpaid community service, and helped with daily operations and special events at our Neighbourhood Centres worked off $4,866.35
- 3 People who attended Mental Health treatment and therapeutic groups worked off $5,145.32
These people have been grateful to have the opportunity to pay down their fines. Being connected into a community organisation with opportunity for support, and the ability to contribute to a financial problem leads to positive results for a person. Continual punishment and penalisation can only lead to worse outcomes and diminished options. This program is about rehabilitation, capacity building, and helping people have some level of control in their situations.
If you’re a social services organisation committed to helping alleviate risks and stress for vulnerable people, we recommend partnering with the SPER Community Engagement Team to assist your clients.
Communify offers responsive and connected social services for vulnerable points in people’s lives, with a focus on connection, capacity building, and caring for humans.