No Interest Loans for Carers in Victoria

Carers Victoria has become the latest fully accredited provider of Good Shepherd Microfinance’s award-winning No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS).

Minister for Families and Children, the Honourable Jenny Mikakos, formally launched the program at an event in Footscray.

“Every day almost 800,000 carers in Victoria provide unpaid support to a family member or friend who needs assistance,” she said.

“This new program will increase access to safe, fair and affordable credit – especially for carers in Victoria who may be experiencing financial hardship.”

Caring can be very demanding and often restricts the lives of individual carers and their families, with carers having the lowest wellbeing of any large group (Australian Unity Wellbeing index).

Caroline Mulcahy, CEO of Carers Victoria, acknowledged the huge positive difference small loans will make to the lives of carers.

“Caring can often lead to financial disadvantage due to preventing carers from accessing paid employment. Carers Victoria is delighted to be joining Good Shepherd Microfinance to further support carers through challenging situations,” she said.

Carers Victoria’s inaugural NILS client, expectant mother Kirsten, shared how she’s been able to repair her car and buy a washing machine.

“Caring for my Grandma with a baby due in eight weeks has been hard – it’s stretched me thin. I’m spending a lot of time driving between her house and mine,” said Kirsten.

“With no family to help out – I’m grateful I could turn to Carers Victoria. Getting a no interest loan has been the boost I needed to get me through.”

Good Shepherd Microfinance’s CEO, Adam Mooney, said around three million adults in Australia are financially excluded and unable to access the basic financial products they need.

“As a carer myself for a large part of my life, I’m delighted to welcome Carers Victoria to the NILS family. Together we are increasing the reach of NILS in Victoria enabling people to move away from crisis and hardship to stability and resilience,” he said.

“We are continually expanding our network of providers to respond to the increasing need for our products and services in local communities right across Australia.”

Good Shepherd Microfinance offers no interest loans with no fees to people on low incomes, in partnership with National Australia Bank, through 669 community provider locations across Australia. The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) loans range from $300 to $1,200 for essential goods and services.

The Victorian Government is providing $500,000 per annum until June 2017 to support NILS in Victoria.

To be eligible for a NILS loan though Carers Victoria, you must be a carer, care recipient, or have previously been on its carer database.

More information at www.nils.com.au or phone 13 64 57.

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