The Sydney Archdiocese is championing the Sisters of Saint Joseph’s interest-free loan program, which aims to help ease cost-of-living pressures for Australians.
The program allows low-income earners and people receiving Centrelink payments to receive interest-free loans to assist with household financial pressures.
The loans will be available to purchase whitegoods, pay for car registration and repairs, medical expenses, courses and essential household items.
Called the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) and administered by Good Shepherd Microfinance, the initiative works on a not-for-profit circular community credit system, where all repayments are used to fund the needs of the next recipient.
While a smaller version of the scheme has been available in rural and regional areas, the program has now been expanded into metropolitan Sydney due to the dire needs of city families facing cost of living pressures.
Eligible applicants can borrow up to $2000 with a repayment period of up to 18 months, giving them access to essential items so they do not have to live in poverty.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference spokesperson for families, Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers, said the quiet work of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, through their charitable arm, Mary MacKillop Today, is an exemplar of Christian charity we should all aspire to.
“Many Australians are in economic peril, which places an incredible burden on the family unit. I am so proud that our religious orders are there to help those families in need,” Bishop Umbers said.
Mary MacKillop Today Financial Inclusion Team Leader Anita Van Dartel said while the program has been assisting people in rural and remote communities for more than 20 years, current economic conditions require it to expand to all areas within Australia.
“The fact we’re now having to extend our No Interest Loan Scheme to the cities shows just how hard life is getting for Australian families.”
Interest free loans program for families fighting cost of living pressures (Sydney Archdiocese)
Church loans to ease burden as no-interest loan scheme expands (Daily Telegraph)