Managing daily expenses can be tough, and credit card debt, mortgages and bills can all add to financial stress.
We offer free, independent and confidential advice, as well as emergency relief, and access to no- and low-interest loans.
If you’re on a low income, managing your daily expenses can be tough. Our Emergency Relief service provides emergency support if you are struggling.Read more
We can provide:
- food parcels and food vouchers
- assistance with some bills and expenses
- bus tickets
- advocacy with creditors
- help with basic budgeting
- outreach for the Welfare Rights Centre
- clothing and chemist vouchers
- referrals to other services that may help.
This service operates in eastern and north eastern Adelaide and is funded by the Department for Families, Communities, Housing and Indigenous affairs, as well as through generous donations.
Financial counselling & support
Managing your financial affairs can be confusing, especially if credit card debt, mortgages and bills are adding pressure.
Our services are free, independent and confidential. Our financial counsellors are non-judgmental, qualified and experienced professionals who can provide information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty.Read more
They can help you with:
- arrears on, for example, mortgage, school fees or council rates
- pending disconnections
- credit card debt
- debt recovery and court action
- consumer rights
- negotiating with creditors
- managing money
- bankruptcy information and alternatives.
Our financial counsellors don’t provide therapeutic counselling, legal advice, material or financial assistance, or advice about business issues. However, we have a range of other services that may be able to support you with some of these matters.
Financial counselling is by appointment only – please contact us to arrange a suitable time.
No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS®)
If you are living on a low income, it can be hard to purchase important household items.
The No Interest Loans Scheme can help, with interest- and fee-free loans for individuals, families or couples. This community-based initiative helps people to access fair, safe and affordable credit to buy essential goods and services.Read more
Loans can be up to $1,500 and are repayable over 12 months. You can use them to purchase items such as:
- a fridge, washing machine or television
- health equipment
- computers and more.
NILS® will not cover regular living expenses like bond or rent; utilities or phone bills; food or clothing; existing debt or debt consolidation; items in pawn brokers or similar; or items already purchased.
Services are available from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. We operate from various locations in Adelaide, as well as Victor Harbor and Goolwa.
Please note that eligibility criteria will apply – contact us for more information.
Loans are provided by National Australia Bank. The service is funded by the Federal Department for Social Services and the South Australian Department for Communities and Social Inclusion, in partnership with Good Shepherd Microfinance.
Dental NILS Pilot
This pilot program is being trialled until the end of 2017. If you have a gross annual income of $45,000 or less, or receive a Centrelink pension, benefit or health care card, you may be eligible for a loan to assist with dental fees.Read more
We have agreements with a number of metropolitan Adelaide dental clinics who can assess you and provide an itemised list of work. You then choose services and organise for a NILS loan for that amount (up to $1200 and based on capacity to pay). You will then start making regular repayments (approximately $35/fortnight for a $1200 loan). The Dental Clinic will invoice Uniting Communities for the work completed.
Before you visit the dentist, you will have a NILS interview so that you know the loan amount that you are eligible for. This can take place at Smithfield, Adelaide or Christies Beach, or over the phone.
Find out more information here or call (08) 8202 5180.
NILS loans for your education
You may be eligible for support to pay your education expenses.Read more
Loans can be used for educational costs, including:
- tuition fees
- sporting activities
- tools and equipment (e.g. laptops)
- membership fees
- other extra-curricular expenses.
Call Uniting Communities and let us know that you are interested in applying for a NILS Loan for Educational Expenses. We will check your eligibility, send you an information pack and make an appointment for you to see a microfinance worker. Before the appointment you will need to collect the necessary paperwork.
Read more about Educational NILS.
StepUP low-interest loans
If you need a loan but are unable to get one from the bank, a StepUP loan may suit you. These are safe, fee-free, low-interest loans between $800 and $3,000, that you can repay over three years.Read more
StepUP is a community initiative between Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services and NAB. It aims to provide you with a safe credit alternative that allows you to build a credit history.
StepUP loans can be held in joint names and can be used for personal, domestic or household purposes including:
- household furniture
- refrigerators or washing machines
- medical expenses
- motor vehicle repairs or second-hand motor vehicles
- house repairs.
A Uniting Communities Microfinance Worker will help you to complete the loan form, which is then assessed by NAB. Terms and repayments are set at what you can afford. StepUP loans cannot be used for cash, holidays, bills or debt consolidation.
This service is available to people in South Australia. Our office at 10 Pitt Street, Adelaide is open Tuesday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
The program is funded through the NAB and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
Utilities Literacy Program
Understanding and managing your electricity, gas and water bills can be a difficult and confusing process.Read more
The program aims to reduce the financial hardship and cost of living pressures caused by high utility bills. We can provide information and support about reducing electricity, gas and water usage, as well as what to do if you experience difficulties and where to go for help.
Energy and Water Expos
As part of this program, we organise community-based Energy and Water Expos, as well as group information sessions to help you with information about electricity, gas and water usage. The program also provides information about the resources and services available to help you to better manage your energy usage and finances.
You can learn about:
- which concessions are available
- organising payment plans
- reading and understanding electricity contracts
- the cost to run appliances.
Expos provide an opportunity to speak with representatives from the Energy and Water Ombudsman, SA Water, SA Power Networks, SA Government Concessions, and many more.
You can also learn about services that are available, and book in appointments for No Interest Loans, Financial Counsellors, Financial Literacy workshops, and the Energy Saver Program, which includes free energy visits.
Some issues can be resolved on the day, so you are encouraged to bring your bills and questions.
These events are held throughout South Australia by Uniting Communities and UnitingCare Wesley Country SA. The Utilities Literacy program is funded by the SA Department for Communities and Social Inclusion.
Low Income Support Program
We can provide advice to local agencies who support members of the community who are disadvantaged or on low incomes.Read more
The program assists agencies with understanding and managing clients’ personal circumstances associated with poverty. It helps agencies to support people who are disadvantaged or on low incomes to gain greater control of their situation, through community education, information and advocacy.
We can help your agency to work with community members to understand the impact and consequences of poverty, as well as to identify strategies and resources which can help manage or alleviate the effect of poverty.
Our staff can work with your agency to build knowledge, implement new programs, develop skills, plan, access resources, advocate and educate the community.
We also offer community programs and psychological education programs to community groups, related to:
- loss and grief
- stress management
- communication, assertiveness and self-esteem
- mindfulness and positivity
- consumer issues
- living independently
- communicating with government agencies.
The State Government has established this program across South Australia. Uniting Communities supports the southern metropolitan region, extending from the airport to Bridgewater and Victor Harbor. Appointments are available on request.