We know that the cost of living crisis is having a significant impact on people, that’s why we have set up a hardship fund of £10,000 to help tenants who are struggling.
Donna Simms, our Money Team Lead at CCHA, writes about why the fund was set up and how frontline staff use it to support families who need a hand.
“Considering the cost of living crisis and increase in utility bills, we were quickly made aware of the number of tenants and their families who were struggling. To prevent extreme hardship, we decided to set up a Tenant Hardship Grant of £10,000. The fund is there to support tenants who are most impacted financially and who are struggling for basic requirements for comfortable living. The grant focuses on ensuring tenants and their families have access to food in an emergency where food banks are not an option, clothing and personal hygiene items, basic white goods (that cannot be accessed by the Welsh Government’s Discretionary Assistance Fund) beds and bedding and emergency top ups on meters to ensure light, hot water and heating in their homes.
“The fund supports tenants and their families who are in extreme financial hardship or relocating due to cases of domestic violence. It also supports new tenants who have been relocated following a time in homeless schemes, who may have little to no personal possessions to set up a new home. To date, the fund has supported the supply of essential cooking items (such as ovens and microwaves) along with the provision of emergency meter top ups, food parcels and personal hygiene items (taken from our Bathroom Essentials Cupboard in our central office).”
“Our Neighbourhood Managers & Money Solutions Officers are on the frontline, working with and supporting tenants in their homes and communities. They visit tenants in their homes, build rapport and professional working relationships which allow them to identify where there is a need for financial support through the Hardship Grant. Their judgement on the application being made is the most informed way of ensuring we are supporting those tenants who require it. We also work closely with our Maintenance Team, as their operatives are attending tenants’ home to complete repairs daily and can also identify tenants who are struggling financially. They can refer into the Neighbourhood Manger and the Money Solutions Officer, to ensure we have a 360-degree wrap-around support service for our tenants and their families at all times. “
What difference has it made to tenants’ lives?
“Tenants and their families that have been supported via the Hardship Grant have given positive feedback on how they feel more supported, able to challenge their financial situations, feel safe and comfortable in their homes and have remained in contact with us for other issues. We have seen the rate of engagement from these supported tenants increase, where it may have been sporadic previously. Tenants are building a trust with us as a caring and supportive landlord which form important parts of CCHA values and strategic aims.”