Helping people deal with debt is just one of the services offered by Grampian Housing Association’s (GHA) SMART Financial Inclusion and Early Intervention Project. With the ability to offer advice and support on debt management to over 8,000 people across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray the service is helping 100s of people across the region.
David Wiseman, 62, from Aberdeen was in dire straights when he was referred to the GHA’s project by his housing officer. His financial worries had begun a decade earlier and despite current support he is still working out his money worries.
David says, “It all kicked off about ten years ago. I had gone through a divorce and I was drinking quite a bit at the time. But the one thing that really led me spiral into debt were my council tax repayments. The council tax office had me under a different first name and I told them wasn’t paying up until it was in the correct name. But the thing was I didn’t put the money aside I just drank it.
“The money just kept mounting up and up. After four years they got my name details right and they came for the arrears and I just didn’t have it. I had injured my shoulder and couldn’t work; I had depression and was still drinking heavily. I knew I was thousands of pounds in debt and I didn’t even know the exact amount. I was in pieces and at my wits end.”
David adds, “I stopped drinking four and a half years ago and that was the trigger to sort the rest of my life out. Over the past few years Grampian Housing Association has helped me so much. They have really helped me understand my debt problems and helped me to sort out benefits. You come to them with your finance problems and they give you options. The other week I got a letter in as there were problems with my rent. Someone from Grampian Housing came down to the house and went through it with me. It turned out that they actually owed me money. That’s the thing when you feel things are spiralling out of control with money, you need someone to turn to. If you’re in trouble you get on the phone right away and they help to put your mind at ease. They have done so much for me and if it wasn’t for them I would still be in a mess, a much bigger mess.”
Grampian Housing Association received £ 407,627 from Investing in Communities through the Life Transitions investment area. To find out more about Life Transitions click here