Toronto, ON – The recent flooding in Alberta is on track to be one of the most expensive disasters in Canadian History – both for the government and the residents of the affected areas. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc., offers free financial advice to help victims put their finances back on track.
Calgary and surrounding areas are currently in a state of recovery as power outages, flooding and water damage have disrupted the lives of countless individuals, families and businesses.
“For those already struggling in our vulnerable economy, the cost of a disaster such as this can force consumers to max out their credit cards and exhaust their financial resources,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. “Credit is a great tool for dealing with emergencies, but I would caution consumers to pay close attention to their budgets during this difficult time.”
All consumers who would benefit from a Debt Management Plan and live in one of the communities under a state of emergency will be enrolled free of charge and have all fees waived until completion of the program. Existing clients living in the affected areas, who are struggling to make ends meet, may also be eligible to have their current fees waived.
Individuals and families who are financially vulnerable from the flooding and need help should call Consolidated Credit’s Alberta Flood Victim counselling hotline at 1-888-834-3665 Counsellors can offer free financial advice to those living on the financial edge and will help Albertan’s gain clarity about what steps should be taken next.
In the meantime, Consolidated Credit advises consumers to take the following steps:
- Start an emergency fund. Putting aside a little money each pay can quickly add up and provide you with a safety net when faced with unexpected costs.
- Create a post-flooding budget. While you wait for flood relief from the government or your insurance company, you will have to rely on the resources you currently have. Take a realistic look at savings and income, and budget for the essentials you will need to get by, such as food and shelter.
- Stay on top of your bills. Putting tasks like paying your credit card bills on the backburner while you concentrate on other matters may seem like the right thing to do. However, missing a few credit card payments could hurt your credit scores at a time when you may need credit the most.
- • Write down every conversation you have with your insurers. Include dates, time and conversation descriptions. This will help you down the road if there are any discrepancies with your claim.
- • For those rebuilding after the floods, take the time to get estimates from several licensed and reputable contractors. Get everything in writing and compare with neighbours who are paying for similar work.
- • If you rely on credit to pay for any necessary repairs, try to live off cash and not incur any new debt while you pay off your credit card bills.
About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance. For more information, visit www.consolidatedcredit.ca or call the toll-free phone line at 1.888-834-3665
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Kylie-Anne Doerner, Communications & Public Relations Manager, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. (B) 416.915.7283 ext. 1057 (C) 289.231.7900 or [email protected].