More than 16,000 people – about one-fifth of adults – in south Bristol are in debt, according to research by the Money Advice Service.
Ms Smyth said: “Residents who struggle to keep up with household bills and debts need to know how they can get good quality advice and support.
“Only one in six people who are classed as ‘over-indebted’ seek support, and when they do so it is often too late, so early access to good quality debt advice is key.”
The summit’s aim is to explore ways we can build stronger relationships between over-indebted people living locally, and local organisations – ones that provide money advice, and those that people can end up owing money to, like utilities companies and local authorities.
People in debt struggle to keep up with bills, and have missed or fallen behind on payments in at least three of the last six months.
Caroline Siarkiewicz, head of debt advice at the Money Advice Service, said people who get advice go on to reduce or clear at least some of their debts within three to six months.
She said: “Good advice helps people get more sleep, improve their relationships and strengthen their mental wellbeing.”