Monday, January 19, 2015

Learning about CAB debt handling at St Paul's Hammersmith

St Paul's in Hammersmith, the venue for some CAB debt training
On Monday I spent most of the day being trained in issues around debt at a session run for Hammersmith and Fulham CAB volunteers

Well I now know that debt is far  more complex than I had realised and of course it's a big problem for many of those who approach the CAB for help (around 30% of the enquiries are connected to  debt issues), I suppose as with so many problems that we humans have to face a large part of the solution is recognising that we can't just ignore it that it will go away or some mysterious benefactor will dig us out of our hole.

 I can let you know too that  a large  lottery win is unlikely to come along and  solve it for us (well it hasn't for me).

The point is (although many of those who are privileged don't recognise it) that a large part of our circumstances, good or bad is dictated by our  'luck' that is where we are located in the social hierarchy and the genes we've inherited - those who are more lucky than others may wish to think about how they might share the good fortune and help even out the fortune  that has been dealt to those who are 'comfortable'.

One of the things we can do is offer some time and provide some help - volunteers at the CAB are able to help those in straightened financial circumstances plan how they might use their limited resources and assist them in negotiating with their creditors for a fair and equable way forward.

Typically the analysis with the client will look at maximising income, and judge how a financial plan can be used to move forward, it might be necessary to agree payment plans, seek payment holidays or even ask for debts to be written off.

Where debt is an issue priority debts need to be recognised - there are items we need to survive, like a roof over our head, food and fuel, other items may be important and need to be looked at typically those where the law might seek to deny the debtor their freedom (i.e. incarcerate them for not paying taxes).

The CAB believes firmly in helping people but doing this by not only providing templates for letters but also by  equipping them with the knowledge  to help them progress and hopefully avoid the severe anguish that can arise from debt in the future

  If you know someone in debt or you yourself are in a predicament  seek help (here's a link to get you started), there are people who can help and at least share your burden

If your prayers aren't answered do ask others for help and advice

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