Budget Management Program Teaches Clients How to Control Their Finances

by SalvationArmy.ca
Categories: Articles, Blog, Feature, Mobile, Newswire

The Salvation Army in Saskatoon’s Budget Management program is helping individuals learn how to become more financially independent.

The program operates on a case-by-case basis. Working individually with clients, caseworkers help them establish monthly budgets and mediate with creditors and landlords. Participants of the program must receive income assistance from the government in order to join.

Program Coordinator, Brooklyn Mierau explains how the Budget Management program operates.

“We are here to support them and provide for them.”

“The way that it works is that instead of their assistance cheque going directly to them, it comes to us. Then we can guarantee that rent is paid and that the client has money for groceries,” Brooklyn said.

While some people join the program because they realize they could use the financial guidance, the majority are referred through the Ministry of Social Services. These are usually individuals who are experiencing homelessness or struggling with addiction. For this reason, the program initially focuses on building rapport and gaining trust.

“That first month or two are focused on building a relationship with the client and having them understand that we are not here to keep their money from them. We are here to support them and provide for them,” Brooklyn added.

Getting to know the participant also allows caseworkers to see if they can refer them to other Salvation Army programs that may be helpful such as food assistance, substance-use recovery, shelter, or mental health help.

“We do have our community pastors here. We have an addictions counsellor, and we have a caseworker as well. We work with the client to the best of their ability and provide the support that we can,” Brooklyn said.

“Our main goal is eventually to get to a point where a client can maintain their own finances.”

Those in the program also improve their changes of securing housing. According to Brooklyn, many landlords in Saskatchewan are unwilling to rent to individuals on assistance. The Budget Management program can act as a trustee and give a landlord assurance that rent will be paid.

While the time frame of the program varies depending on each client, the ultimate objective is to eventually give them full control of their finances when they have proven that they are ready. This could be when they start receiving fewer assistance cheques because they are more stable or when they have paid their bills on time for several months.

“Our main goal is eventually to get to a point where a client can maintain their own finances,” Brooklyn said.

The Budget Management program currently helps 450 clients. In November 2023, the program expanded to Salvation Army locations across Saskatchewan.

By Juan Romero