The Financial Resilience programs provide financially vulnerable people with access to safe and affordable financial products including no interest loans, microenterprise development loans and matched savings. These products are not generally available to financially vulnerable people through mainstream providers of financial services. These loans and matched savings products are offered as an alternative to other high risk, high interest products such as payday loans.
The products are provided in conjunction with financial literacy education to improve financial capacity and lead to greater self-reliance, assisting people to build assets, develop savings and commence on the pathway to financial inclusion.
No Interest Loans (NILS)
The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)provides access to fair and safe loans for eligible people, with no interest, fees or charges. The repayments are arranged with clients so that they are affordable.
No-interest loans of up to $3,000 are available to people on low incomes (less than $70,000 (gross) for singles and $100,000 (gross) per annum as a couple or people with dependants), repaid over up to two years.
Loans are available for women experiencing family or domestic to help women with the financial costs of establishing a new household, such as relocation expenses, rental bonds and rental payments. Women must have experienced family or domestic violence in last 10 years and have capacity to repay the loan, no income limits apply.
Loans can be used for the purchase of household items including whitegoods and furniture, car repairs and registration, medical and dental costs, laptops and computers, housing (rent and bond) and education costs.
NILS Loans for Vehicles
Loans are available for people and families on low incomes to purchase a vehicle for essential use. Loans are available for $2000 – $5000 for the purchase of an essential vehicle including cars, scooters, mobility scooters, motorcycles and boats.
More information on eligibility, finding a NILS provider, and how to apply can be found here: NILs No Interest Loans – Good Shepherd (link is external)
Microenterprise Development: Microenterprise (small business) development organisations support individuals on a low income to increase their business planning and workforce skills, support the development of a small business (microenterprises – including providing one-on-one mentoring), and facilitate access to loans. Organisations are required to leverage funding from alternate non-government sources to build the sustainability of the organisation.
Eligibility to access microenterprise services is restricted to:
- people in receipt of an unemployment benefit; and
- women experiencing family or domestic violence for the purpose of assisting these women to become financially independent.
Microenterprise development services funded by DSS include:
Saver Plus is a matched savings program that provides an opportunity to have every dollar saved (up to $500) matched with an additional dollar for your own or your family’s education-related expenses for items such as computers, uniforms and books. On average, clients participate in the program over a 10-month period, with flexibility in the amount of time a participant can take to complete the program. Participation in four MoneyMinded financial education sessions is part of the program.
Eligibility for Saver Plus is for those in receipt of a Commonwealth social security benefit, allowance or payment.
More information about Saver Plus is available at Saver Plus | Brotherhood of St. Laurence (bsl.org.au)