Stopping mortgagee sales are the issue on top for Vaiola, champion budget advisor at Mangere Baptist church. Since July 2008, the time when the impacts of the recession were keenly felt in Mangere, Vai has had thirty five mortgagee sales referred to the service she runs, and she has been able stave off thirty four of them.
Job losses are the main reason for families defaulting on payments. Vai laments that families often leave it until they owe a lot of money before they come to her. Now-days people might come when they are five, eight, even fifteen thousand dollars in arrears. By then they are being sued for payment of their rates and their water might be cut off. By this stage people are in tears and very stressed. They are distressed by what the mortgagee can do - often they have not understood the fine print of the contract. (Mangere Budget Service murals, pictured right)
Vai does not work with lawyers or brokers– they are too expensive. She works with the bank mortgagees because clients already have a loan. The negotiations to stop mortgagee sales involves many meetings with families and with brokers and it is extremely hard work. She applies to Kiwi Saver for a lump sum and then works with people to live within their means. The budgeting service does not take over management of their clients’ money. They educate people. Vai said ‘If it’s the mortgage, pay that number one. If it’s the rent, this must be paid before any other bill. It seems they pay their loan sharks first, before there’s even a roof over their head.’
In this time of extra hardship with the recession more people come for assistance with food parcels. Vai refers people to the City Mission, the Salvation Army and Vincent de Paul.
There was a mortgagee sale the same day as we visited Vai – she was keeping her fingers crossed for her clients that the house sale would be not go through and that this would be the thirty fifth mortgagee sale that would be stopped.As she gave the thumbs up sign Vai said ‘In the end, ‘we can only pray’! (Champion budgeter Vaiola, pictured right)
Murals on Mangere Budget Service and Church walls
Vai at Mangere Budget Service
Mangere Parish Pastor Dean Clarkson
Phone: 09 275 5769
For information on parish initiatives visited for the NZCCSS Manaaki Hapori project, contact:
Phone: 04 473 2627 / 021-388-337