How is CAP funded?

CAP receives no government funding. One-third of funding comes from the Life Changer program, which now numbers more than 3,500 individuals giving a monthly donation to CAP. As CAP works through local churches to deliver its service, one-third comes from churches. The remaining funds come from charitable trusts, fundraising events, and one-off gifts from supporters.

Are CAP staff qualified debt counsellors?

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is authorised and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Registration number 104471516), which covers all debt counselling and debt management carried out by CAP. All money advice and negotiations are carried out by CAP caseworkers based at Head Office. In addition, each centre has Debt Coaches and Support Workers who support clients through the process both emotionally and with budgeting skills.
All internal caseworkers are required to have completed and passed a level 4 in Finance and Mortgage Broking. They are also given extensive and detailed training and instruction on money advice, debt counselling, the credit industry, financial statements and CAP’s internal computer software.
Debt Coaches do not offer any money advice themselves, instead acting as an intermediary to deliver the advice and recommendations of CAP Head Office.

Does CAP give money to clients?

No, CAP does not give money to clients to help pay their debts. Rather, CAP helps clients repay their own debts in a sustainable way, allowing them to meet their basic needs. This is achieved through an agreed-upon budget and negotiations with creditors to work out repayment terms that work for both parties and where appropriate, waivers.

Should clients really be saving when they are in debt?

Budgeting savings into a client’s account helps to break the cycle of debt helping clients to be able to afford essentials when the need arises so they no longer have to rely on credit. Everything that clients save fits under the budget category ‘Living Essentials’ (such as household maintenance and future needs). Savings is therefore part of their budget allocations and in no way affects negotiations with creditors.

Do you have good relationships with the banks and other lenders?

CAP has developed excellent relationships with banks and other financial institutions across Australia. These organisations recognise the value of CAP’s work in terms of recouping their lost income and the positive impact on mutual clients and therefore they work closely with CAP.

When is CAP beneficial over other free debt advice services?

Debt can be a devastating experience and many people, especially the poorest and most marginalised in society, can find it virtually impossible to resolve the problem themselves, even if excellent advice has been given. Repeated phone calls and letters from creditors can result in feelings of hopelessness, low-self esteem, anxiety and depression, causing family break-ups and even suicide. Shockingly, one-third of CAP clients surveyed have said they considered or attempted suicide before seeking help. In addition, vulnerability and disability can be barriers to accessing mainstream debt-counselling services due to difficulties travelling to a debt advice centre. CAP’s service is specifically tailored for the poor and socially marginalised.
As part of the service, all clients are given a CAP Account to pay their debts which greatly simplifies the repayment process. (See below answer for more information on the CAP Account).

How does the CAP account work?

The CAP Account works by providing clients with an easy way to pay outstanding debts in one simple payment. Each client has a CAP Account from which payments are administered on their behalf to all creditors. This means that through one weekly, fortnightly or monthly payment to their CAP Account, clients can rest assured that all their debts are being paid and that CAP can negotiate repayment terms on their behalf should their financial situation change. Another advantage to the CAP Account is that it enables clients to generate savings each month from their income. This empowers clients to plan for their future, putting into practice sound financial principals, which will pass on excellent money management skills to break the cycle of poverty for future generations.

Is the service just for Christians?

No, the CAP service is available to anyone regardless of race, nationality, religion, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. This is shown as over 90% of CAP clients are not Christians.
As a Christian organisation, CAP Debt Coaches may offer prayer and discuss issues of faith with clients if they are interested. However, their response in no way affects the service offered.

Is there a charge for the CAP service?

No, it is completely free. Clients are given the opportunity to give voluntary donations to the charity if they want to and their budget shows they can afford to. CAP works hard to not create any sense of obligation when the opportunity to give a donation is presented.
Many clients choose not to donate and this in no way affects the service that is offered.

How long are your waiting lists?

Waiting lists vary from centre to centre. Each centre has a specific amount of clients they can see each month based on how many volunteers they have and the hours the centre is open. An average waiting time for a first visit from a CAP Debt Coach is usually about six weeks, although it can vary.

What happens if a client does not accept CAP’s recommended process?

Once a financial statement has been created for a client, CAP outlines all the potential ways of dealing with debt and provides advice on specific options viable for their individual circumstances. Should a client decide that they do not wish to proceed with the recommended option, they are under no obligation to continue to work with CAP. A client is never forced to take a route out of debt that they did not wish to pursue. If a client does not wish to continue working with CAP they are equipped with a self-help pack.

What happens if creditors do not accept your negotiations?

This is not a common occurrence. In the unlikely event that this does happen, CAP always works in the best interests of clients. As we always look to have interest and charges stopped, very rarely the only way to accomplish this is for the debt to be passed on to a collections agency. However, this is a last resort and we generally find that creditors recognise the value of working with us in terms of recouping monies owed and therefore agree to our repayment offer.

Who regulates CAP?

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is authorised and regulated by Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) (ABN 92104471516) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Registration number 104471516).

What should I do if someone claiming to be a CAP representative offers me money?

CAP doesn’t give grants or financial gifts to individuals. If you have been approached privately by someone offering such assistance, this is likely to be a scam. If unsure, please email CAP directly [hello@capaust.org] to clarify if the message is authentic.

Our partners in the USA and Canada have seen scams like these occur, however we are not aware this has happened in Australia.