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Helping families Get Out of Debt

Oct 2014    

‘GOOD’ – which stands for ‘Getting Out of Debt’ – will be launched by Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) to commemorate the 130th anniversary of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2015, which also coincides with the Golden Jubilee or 50th year of Singapore’s Independence.

Through the ‘GOOD’ programme, MWS hopes to partner with the Methodist family to bless needy families in the community by helping them to clear chronic debt.

Biblical basis of the Jubilee
As prescribed in the Law of Moses, every 50 years, all monetary debts would be cancelled and slaves set free so that all had the chance to start anew in the Jubilee year.

“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.” (Leviticus 25:10)

Why help to clear debt?
Despite Singapore’s outstanding economic growth, real income growth for lower-wage earners has been stagnant, with the lowest 10 per cent actually seeing a drop in per capita income in real terms. Debt management experts have long reiterated the importance of helping those with debt focus on clearing their debts. It will empower them to build assets that can generate intergenerational social mobility.

With the clearing of debts, people may experience the freedom to start saving. Savings cushion families against crisis, and allow them to make investments that will result in generating intergenerational social mobility.

Our ‘GOOD’ beneficiaries
MWS hopes to raise $1.7 million for the ‘GOOD’ programme to help 850 families struggling with chronic debt to give them a fresh start. We aim to clear an average of $2,000 of debt per eligible household. The key criteria to assess families are:

Housing Type
HDB rental one, two-room flats
HDB two, three and four-room flats

Income
Gross per capita income of < $1,500

Other criteria
* Singapore Citizen / Permanent Resident
* Outstanding debt of > 6 months
* Debts are incurred from daily living e.g. Housing rental/mortgage, Town Council bills, utilities, essential household items bought on hire purchase.

$1.7million
MWS hopes to raise $1.7 million for the ‘GOOD’ programme to help 850 families struggling with chronic debt to give them a fresh start.

$2,000
We aim to clear an average of $2,000 of debt per eligible household.

The helping process
Clearing of debt
Bills will be collected from the beneficiaries, and direct payment to the creditors will be made. The debts will be cleared before National Day 2015 to celebrate the Jubilee.
Financial education
The families can learn how to better manage their debts and finances through educational collaterals.
Church engagement programmes
Methodist churches can engage beneficiaries and their families through financial and debt management talks. Churches may also take the opportunity to befriend beneficiaries and their families, providing on-going support as part of their Social Concerns efforts.

Desired outcomes for beneficiaries
Motivate beneficiaries blessed with a FRESH Start to take concrete steps out of the poverty cycle such as cancelling more debt, getting rid of bad money habits, and starting to save, budget and plan forward.
Empower beneficiaries to have life to the full.
As the burden of debt falls away, beneficiaries may feel more optimistic and confident. With a more positive outlook on life, family harmony will be restored and work life enhanced.

As a Methodist community, we can change lives!
MWS will be working with Methodist churches in the coming months to make ‘GOOD’ happen. We are looking for ‘GOOD’ advocates to champion fundraising, rally the church community, and organise engagement activities in the local churches. Please approach your church leadership if you are moved to help.

For more information or to donate towards the ‘GOOD’ Programme, please contact * Ms Yap Lee Lee, Director (Communications & Fundraising), at yapleelee@mws.org.sg

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