HomeStart is a low deposit lender owned by the SA Government and has been in operation for around 30 years, helping around 71000 people get into home ownership.
John Oliver, CEO of HomeStart, took off the jacket and tie to take Affordable SA behind the scenes and talk about the process and best ways of preparing your finances as well as the information required to apply for a home loan.
John says that "Many people assume they are not eligible for a home loan when in fact they are". HomeStart lends to people from all backgrounds, single parents with kids, couples and more mature people. Around 40% of HomeStart's customers are on Centrelink payments.
HomeStart's mission is to make home ownership a reality for more people in more ways. They also have a strong focus in helping regional home buyers and anybody from anywhere in South Australia can approach homeStart for a home loan.
Watch the interview with John to find out all you need to know to get started with owning your own home sooner.
ConnectEd provides information and advice to vulnerable members of the community on how to better understand and manage their household energy, water and telecommunications services. This is extended in the current context to particularly vulnerable cohorts such as international students and temporary visa holders.
The ConnectEd program at UCWB is able to offer assistance via Zoom, delivering information sessions or small workshops to the community. Topics such as:
- Understanding bills and reading meters.
- Saving energy and water.
- Calculating running costs.
- Concessions, hardship and assistance available.
- Plans, discounts and getting a better deal.
- Solar, batteries and new technologies
To book an online information session email ConnectEd@ucwb.org.au stating your preferred date/time and we will contact you with a link and instructions how to access Zoom. Duration: approx. 1 hour with the possibility of follow-up sessions as required.
Check out [ConnectED](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/utilities/connected-utilities-literacy) for other great ways to save on your Utilities bills and around the home.
Here on the Helpline, we hear the following phrases quite a lot:
‘I haven't been opening my mail'
‘I just put my head in the sand and hoped it would all go away’
Do you have some mail on your kitchen table that you have been avoiding? Amongst the take-away menus and supermarket catalogues, you may have a utility bill or two, a bank statement, a disconnection notice, a demand notice or even a default notice.
Before you know it, a week has gone by, the mail hasn't been touched and your phone starts to ring a lot more than usual.
We appreciate that having to open mail can cause a lot of anxiety, particularly if you are in financial hardship. However, in the long term it can make things a lot more difficult.
If you are sitting at your kitchen table with your cup of coffee staring at a pile of mail and you don’t know what to do, don’t worry help is out there.
A financial counsellor can look over your financial situation, discuss options with you, and if need advocate on your behalf with creditors and utility companies. The important thing to remember is that you do not need to go through this alone. Our financial counsellors are free, friendly and ready to help.
To book an appointment with a financial counsellor call the [Affordable SA Helpline](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/affordable-sa-helpline) on 1800 025 539 or search for [Financial Counselling Services](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/financial-counselling-services) in the Affordable SA App.
There are many different ways to pay a bill and everyone has their own preferred method. You can take a paper bill to the post office, send a cheque in the mail, make a payment via Bpay or set up an automatic direct debit.
If you are currently receiving a Centrelink payment or have just recently started to receive one due to the unprecedented effects of COVID-19, then another way to pay your bills is via Centrepay.
Centrepay is a free bill paying service through Centrelink, whereby an agreed amount comes directly out of your fortnightly payment.
To set up Centrepay, you just need to tell Centrelink:
· Who you want to pay
· How much you want to pay
· Which Centrelink payment you want the money to come from
Centrepay can be a useful way to pay for essential living expenses, such as electricity, gas, water, rent, mortgage repayments, etc.
For a full list of goods and services that can be paid via Centrepay, see the following link https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/centrepay/how-use-it/goods-and-services
For more information about how Centrepay works, see the attached link and video from the Department of Human Services.