PEOPLE in need of legal advice in Ellesmere Port and Neston will now be able to get free advice by text message.
Mortgage repossession orders are already up 17% on last year.
People who are most vulnerable are finding themselves in debt and facing the possibility of homelessness, often not knowing where to turn to get help.
The innovative text-message scheme comes from Community Legal Advice – a free, confidential advice service paid for by Government legal aid money.
In 2006/07 the Legal Services Commission helped more than 1,100 people with legal problems in Ellesmere Port and Neston.
To take advantage of the service, text your name followed by the word “legalaid” to 80010 and an operator will call you back. The text costs no more than the normal network rate.
Specialist advice on problems such as debt, inability to pay bills, or bailiff collection orders are offered through the service.
You can also get advice on common housing problems including rent arrears and eviction.
Advice is available on employment, welfare benefits and tax credits and education.
The text service links in with the Community Legal Advice helpline on 0845 345 4 345 and a website www.communitylegaladvice.org.uk that provides quality assured specialist legal advice.
Peter Nelson, regional director for the Legal Services Commission in the North, said: “This expansion of our service is about making Community Legal Advice more accessible.
“Many people assume that getting legal advice usually involves an expensive trip to a solicitor or waiting in a queue at the Citizens Advice Bureau.
“We are offering them an alternative way of getting legal help with everyday problems like debt or benefits.
“The service is free and confidential and even if you don’t qualify for legal aid our advisors will point you in the direction of the best advice possible.”