Yet as an unemployed single father he felt powerless to do anything about it. It had seemed such a small loan to begin with, and then borrowing from a different lender to pay off the loan hadn't seemed such a bad idea.
But then he borrowed again; and then again when he needed more money in a hurry for his little girl's education expenses. By the time he came to Good Shepherd Youth & Family Service he had accrued debts with five different creditors, to a total of over $15,000.
Our financial counsellor went carefully through Hugo's financial affairs. During that first visit, Hugo disclosed that he had been diagnosed with a mental illness. Our counsellor worked with his creditors to waive or adjust some of his debts. She worked on a budget with Hugo and set up fortnightly centrepay payments for the rent, utilities and telephone. She also helped him apply for Utility Relief Grants to help him pay his gas and electricity bills.
Hugo's family now stands a fighting chance of getting back on its feet financially. As our financial counsellor put it: "This could be life changing for Hugo and his little girl."