People in the Far North who find it hard to make ends meet are reminded of the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) which can help with the cost of buying household items.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said NILS was a community-based loan program that provided interest free loans for those living on low incomes.

“Buying essential household items can be a stretch for low income earners at the best of times let alone after the Christmas period which can drain the savings of any family,” Mr Pitt said.

“Therefore the beginning to 2010 is a timely reminder that help is available for those necessary, everyday items which everyone deserves to have in their home, such as a such as a fridge, washing machine, TV, bed or clothes dryer.”

Mr Pitt said there were no fees, charges or interest on the money borrowed through NILS and that the Scheme was a viable alternative to high-cost personal loans or credit cards.

“Loans are between $200 and $1800 and the repayment period is usually around 12 to 18 months,” Mr Pitt said.

“NILS is a financial life support and I urge families, single parents, seniors or individuals going through tough times to look into accessing the loan to make life a little easier.”

To be eligible for NILS you must have a Health Care Card or Pension Card and earn less than $30,000 per year.

The national scheme, started in 1981, is coordinated by the community organisation Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service and delivered by local community groups.

Mr Pitt said the Scheme operated on a ‘circular community credit’ basis.

“For example when a borrower makes a repayment those funds are then available to loan to someone else in the community,” Mr Pitt said.

The Queensland NILS program is supported by the Queensland Government, Federal Government and National Australia Bank.

For information about NILS and about how to apply, visit the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service website or the Office of Fair Trading website.