Award for HA's loan shark campaign
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Legal
Knowsley Housing Trust (KHT) has won an award for its campaign to raise awareness of the dangers presented by loan sharks.
KHT, part of the First Ark Group, has worked with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (EIMLT) on a number of initiatives to promote alternative, safer sources of credit available for those struggling with debt.
Now the EIMLT has chosen the 13,000-home provider along with Knowsley Council and Villages Housing for the 'North West Stop Loan Sharks Award'.
As part of the campaign, a local artist was brought in to work on a series of awareness raising projects with young people.
Piggy banks have also been handed out to encourage saving and invited community theatre group Shontal to stage a series of free public performances about avoiding loan sharks.
There have been several high profile convictions of loan sharks operating in KHT neighbourhoods – including one who dealt loans to 145 people with APR rates ranging from 886% to 131,000%.
Loan sharks are renowned for harassing, assaulting and threatening their victims.
Sheila Tolley, KHT's executive director of customers and communities, said: “Loan sharks trap people in a cycle of fear and intimidation and we must do everything we can to drive them out of our neighbourhoods and keep communities safe.
“We know our tenants are facing some of the most financially challenging times in recent years and it can be tempting to get quick cash from loan sharks.
“KHT provides money support services to help people bring down household bills and manage budgets, benefits and debts. Together with our partners, we can rid our communities of this loan shark menace.”
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