People in financial difficulties have more health problems, struggle with tensions in the family, may lose their job and end up claiming social welfare. Caritas’ prevention and counselling work opens up new prospects for people in debt.
In Switzerland, around 690'000 people, or 8.1% of the population, live in a household with several payment arrears. People on a low income, single parents, large families and people with a migration background are disproportionately affected, according to the Federal Statistical Office. The causes of over-indebtedness are often life-changing events such as a divorce, an accident or illness
Caritas’ prevention and advice work
Jointly with its regional partner organisations, Caritas Switzerland is engaged in debt prevention as well as in providing information and advice to those affected.
«Together with the clients seeking advice I draw up a plan to reduce the debts and a budget. In this way, I help people to regain their courage and to have a vision of the future.»Lorenz BertschDebt counsellor
The sooner debt problems are addressed, the better the chances of finding a way out of debt. The Caritas debt counselling service gives information about possible solutions and helps to put them into practice with the following offers.
Debt prevention as a school subject
youngCaritas offers school visits on the subject of debt. Over a period of two to three lessons, they jointly explore possible debt traps with the students, how debts can be avoided, and reflect their own attitudes to money and consumption.
Information material for government agencies and institutions
Government agencies, institutions and enterprises can order information material about the ‘SOS Debt’ hotline. By providing information about ‘SOS Debt’, they offer a valuable service for people with debt problems.
Legal support for specialist agencies
Employees of the members of the umbrella organisation for debt advice in Switzerland receive specialist legal advice on specific questions relating to their work with clients.
Header image: Glimpse of a debt counselling session © Thomas Plain