CLC argues homeless woman’s financial hardship

Goulburn River cropMary, not her real name, lives by the river. She doesn’t live in a luxury waterfront apartment. Or a retirement village. Or even a caravan park.

Mary is 76 and she lives alone in her broken down car on the bank of the Goulburn River. She is homeless. And all Mary wants is to be left to live in peace.

Mary does it tough. She scrapes by on the aged pension and her old car is her only significant asset. Insurance is out of the question.

When Mary had a car accident in 2014, the other party’s insurance company tracked her down and demanded payment for the damage done to their client’s car. Mary was in no position to pay this debt. Nor could she afford to pay for a private solicitor. And her matter was ineligible for legal aid. With nowhere else to turn, Mary contacted Goulburn Valley CLC.

One of our lawyers contacted the insurer’s collection agent and explained Mary’s circumstances. We argued that Mary’s income was protected under Section 12 of the Judgement Debt Recovery Act and proposed that the outstanding debt be waived on the basis of financial hardship. After further negotiations with the insurer, it discontinued its action against Mary in February this year.

Mary still lives in circumstances that most of us would find intolerable. But for now she has one less thing to worry about.

If you would like to support our work with people like Mary, please Like us on Facebook and join our growing community of social justice advocates.

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