Councillor Michael Raffoul, Mayor of Hobsons Bay City at Hobsons Bay NILS Launch.
What is NILS?
NILS stands for No Interest Loan Scheme. NILS offers people on low incomes the opportunity to access loans of up to $1000 for an essential household item or service without any fees, charges or interest payments.
These include white goods, furniture, beddings, computers and medical costs. The loans are not meant for emergency relief, bond and rent money, rent arrears, living expenses such as food, bills (gas, electricity or phone), cash advances, debt repayment and consolidation. Cheques for the loan item are not payable to the loan recipient or to a third party for a private sale.
Who is eligible?
- Applicant must be on low income.
- Applicant must reside in Hobsons Bay for a minimum of 6 months.
- Applicant must be willing and able to repay the loan.
How does it work?
This scheme is built on the idea of helping people help themselves. So the process starts with a careful assessment process to work out each applicant’s ability to repay the loan as it is not wished that anyone takes on a debt that will become a burden.
The scheme works on trust. As loans are repaid, the recycled fund is made available for loan to other members of the community. The fund is made available by the National Australia Bank.
How to apply?
Call 9398 2548
History of NILS
The first NILS was established in 1981 by Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service initially to assist women to live independently. Since that time, numerous NILS programs have been established by various local community groups and organizations to assist all sorts of people in need, many with the support of the Ian Potter Foundation. The NILS network across Australia now boasts more than 250 programs.
Recently, the National Australia Bank and the Department of Planning and Community Development committed to expand support and funding for NILS throughout Victoria. This has resulted in the development of further NILS programs, such as Hobsons Bay NILS.
How did Hobsons Bay NILS come about?
The Hobsons Bay NILS has been developed over the past two years by a group of community members keen to provide a service to help provide low-income and disadvantaged members of the Hobsons Bay community with a means of improving their life largely through their own efforts.
The service became operational in late 2010 and was run by a small group of volunteers. Current partners include St Vincent De Paul Society Inc, GROW and individual community members.
Hobsons Bay NILS is seeking committed volunteers interested in building a vibrant and successful service. Informal training in NILS is available as well as opportunities to participate in regional and statewide NILS network meetings. People are needed to serve on the Committee of Management, answer phone calls and enquiries, conduct loan interviews, perform administration and simple database management.
If you are interested in volunteering your service, please register your interest with Hobsons Bay NILS and help the team grow.