If the Covid-19 lockdowns have pushed your finances to their limit, there are national initiatives to support families and people on low incomes who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Support from local councils
If you’re finding it hard to pay your rent and other bills during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, your council may be able to assist you with a Discretionary Hardship Payment, which you won't need to repay.
To be eligible for the payment, you must already be claiming housing benefit or Universal Credit.
The government has also advised councils to provide the payment to people who have been affected by welfare reforms including:
- the benefit cap
- removal of the spare room subsidy
- changes to Local Housing Allowance rates.
Find out more about the Discretionary Hardship Payment and how to apply for it at www.gov.uk/government/publications/claiming-discretionary-housing-payments/claiming-discretionary-housing-payments.
Covid-19 Winter Grant
The Government’s Covid-19 Winter Grant, which can be used to provide financial help to anyone facing financial hardship, has been extended until 16 April 2021.
The funding will go to families with children while the remaining money will go to other households that are struggling because of the pandemic.
The support you may be eligible to receive depends on where you live, so it's best to contact your local authority directly to find out what help you can get.
To find out if you can get help with living costs, getting food and other essentials or support for your business, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help to find your local council.
The community fridge
Across the UK, with sustainability high on the agenda, people and businesses are becoming more aware of food waste.
This is where the Community Fridge Network comes in. A community fridge is a space where local residents can share and access surplus food, including donations from local food businesses.
People who are struggling to pay for groceries are welcome to visit their community fridge and help themselves to the products for free.
Last year, there were over 100 fridges in the Community Fridges Network that provided the equivalent of over 4 million meals to more than 150,000 people.
If you’d like support setting up your own community fridge or want help finding one, please get in touch with the team at Hubbub who co-ordinate the project, at www.hubbub.org.uk/the-community-fridge.
To learn about how Habinteg can support you if you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, visit www.habinteg.org.uk/struggling-with-bills.
Special thanks to Habinteg tenant Kerry Thompson for sharing the community fridge project with us at our Editorial Panel meeting.