Small business owners in financial distress are driving growing demand for Vinnies’ emergency relief and financial counselling services, The West Australian reports.
Vinnies WA is only able to meet half of the demand from West Australians in crisis, with between 400 and 500 new calls received each month.
“It’s a significant increase,” Vinnies executive manager of member and volunteer services Andrew York said.
“Last year we helped just over 40,000 people and turned away another 30-odd thousand because we just couldn’t provide support,” he said.
Vinnies has expanded its financial counselling service in WA after being awarded the tender to run the Commonwealth-funded National Debt Helpline.
The helpline will take calls from across the State and operate alongside Vinnies’ regional financial counselling services which assist those in crisis or refer them to other services.
“It’s a combination of things — the leftover of the mining boom we’ve gone through in WA, the significantly high mortgage stress and repossession rates and high credit card debt which is part of that legacy,” Mr York said. A more recent trend was the “significant increase” in small businesses and franchises coming to the charity for help.
“You wouldn’t think middle-income people would have financial stress but it’s one of the fastest growing areas,” he said. “People have often re-mortgaged houses to put money back into the business.”
WA small business owners feeling the pinch turn to charities for relief (The West Australian)