Domestic violence victims struggling to get housing because of hefty rental bonds can now apply for interest-free loans, even if they have bad credit.
Community finance organisation Good Shepherd New Zealand Trust has granted Aviva, the former Women's Refuge, the contract to deliver the interest-free loans of up to $2000 targeted at victims of abuse in Christchurch.
Aviva micro finance worker Nicola Eccleton said the lack of affordable rentals after the earthquakes has forced victims to stay with their abusers because they cannot afford to move.
"Christchurch is in a unique situation where rent has gone up in an unforseen manner. Financial hardship is a massive factor for people staying in a relationship, so offering to help with the bond will absolutely help.
Eccleton said no credit checks would be carried out and if borrowers default on their payments there will be no penalties.
"Vulnerable people do not need to be punished. Often they have bad credit ratings because they have been forced to get a loan by their partner. Instead they will come back to us and have a discussion about whether to put it on hold or other options," she said.
The move comes at a time when the Government has extended the definition of domestic violence to include financial abuse.
The loans, which can be taken out for a maximum of 24 months and repaid at as little as $5 weekly, are also available for essential items such as furniture, whiteware, baby equipment, school uniforms and technology.
The loan money is paid straight to the supplier of the goods.
- The Press