'Don't be ashamed . . . there is life after arrears'
Published 10/03/2011 | 05:00
Helena Davis and her husband Jaron are refusing to allow the fact they are in arrears on their mortgage get them down.
The couple are both unemployed, but have set themselves the goal of starting their own business.
They have decided to adopt a relentlessly upbeat approach to life, despite enduring various knocks.
Based in Wicklow town, they borrowed €385,000 to buy their house and were doing well during the boom.
Helena worked as a project manager on the Metro project, while Jaron had a thriving carpentry business.
But work dried up for both of them in the past 18 months.
They approached their lender, Permanent TSB, the day after Jaron finished his last contract. Helena was still in work at the time.
They found the lender accommodating, once all the household finances were provided to the bank.
Helena has since lost her job and the couple are now paying the interest only on the mortgage.
They currently have arrears of around €25,000.
"If you are in arrears don't be ashamed. There is life after arrears," she says.
People are petrified about approaching their bank when they cannot meet mortgage repayments, but they should not be, she adds.
The couple have made various attempts to start their own businesses. They get up at seven every morning and have a list of five or six things they want to get done each day.
Helena is confident they will succeed in their aim of getting their own business up and running.
She has just got approved for a the back-to-work scheme that encourages people getting certain social welfare payments to become self-employed. She is hoping her business teaching salespeople better communications techniques will take off.
Jaron, meanwhile, is doing computer courses.
They have decided to call each creditor straight away if they feel they will struggle to pay a bill, and provide a date when they expect to be able to pay the bill.
They are remaining positive.
Helena set up a page on Facebook, called Mortgage Arrears, with the help of a company called Brand Exposure to support others in arrears.
And they are refusing to allow the situation to get on top of them.
"It does not stay winter for ever. I will clear the arrears. Even if it take two years we will get through this," she says.