Debt problems reach new peak in St Albans district

Debt problems are a major issue in the district

Debt problems are a major issue in the district - Credit: PA

A debt charity has had a record-breaking start to 2016 - and fears there are many more people in dire financial straits who might need their help.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP), which is run in the St Albans district by the community-minded St Paul’s Church in Hatfield Road, was expecting Monday of last week to be the busiest day yet as it has been traditionally in previous years.

Rachel Martin, manager of the charity’s centre in st Albans, said that although the economy in some areas had seen an upturn, CAP was still hearing from thousands of people in desperate circumstances.

She went on: “Most of our clients have been struggling with problem debt for more than three years by the time they get in touch with us. “So, what we’re seeing now reflects a snapshot of how things were several years ago. The main thing is, people are finding a way forward with a situation that can seem overwhelming.”

CAP is a charity with 290 church-based debt centres across the country and nationally it has received 24 per cent more calls for help in January 2016 compared with January 2015.

So far this year, more than 3,000 people have telephoned for help and Rachel said that CAP in St Albans was seeing the same pattern repeated locally.

Every person who calls from the local area receives a visit to their home from Rachel or a member of her team.

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All the person’s paperwork, overdue bills and letters about arrears are then sent to CAP’s head office where they answer each one and begin negotiations with creditors.

Rachel said: “Many people really struggle through these first months of the year and commonly people feel they should be able to sort out debt problems on their own, which is lonely and frightening.

“If you’re unable to sleep at night, worrying about money for food or receiving too many calls from people wanting money, we are here for you. Give us a call.”

To find out more click here or call 0800 328 0006.