Hammersmith & Fulham Council launched a Crisis Prevention Fund which grants one-off payments to residents struggling through the cost-of-living crisis.
The fund aims to support households having difficulty covering essential living expenses such as food, gas and electricity bills.
Those eligible for the fund may apply for up to three payments, totalling £900, up until March 2024.
Amelia Gosal, CEO of the Dr Edwards and Bishop King’s Fulham Charity, said: “Many of the people who contact us are struggling with the costs of food and bills – many are in desperate situations.
“Whatever the council can do to help alleviate the situation that some people are experiencing at the moment, the better.”
To be eligible for the new fund, residents must:
- Have less than £1,000 in total savings.
- Be a resident of Hammersmith & Fulham.
- Be aged 18 or older or 16 and be responsible for younger children.
- Be responsible for council tax or living independently and paying rent.
- Not have enough money for their short-term essential living expenses, due to an unexpected financial crisis, disaster or emergency.
To be eligible for the fund, residents must also belong to one of the 10 groups vulnerable to financial hardship listed by the council, including pensioners, unpaid carers and single parents.
Sarah Buret of Parson’s Green of Fulham, said: “I think what the government and council have done over this last year to help people is brilliant.
“The cost of gas and electricity is very high. Any kind of help like that is a godsend.”
Dominique Alexander, 24, of Fulham Broadway said: “Any help is good help.”
Fraudulent cost-of-living benefit claims costed the government £310m in the financial year ending in 2023.
Highlighting the risk of fraud, Alexander added: “The council should make sure that people do not find ways around getting the money when they do not need it, taking it away from people who do need it.”
The Crisis Prevention Fund was introduced as part of the government’s Household Support Fund, which saw £842m pounds made available to local authorities to assist those struggling with the rise in inflation and living costs.
Facing the highest inflation rate amongst all G7 economies, the UK saw prices of consumer goods and services rise by 9.6% in the year to October 2022 – the fastest rise in 40 years.
Although the annual inflation rate has since slowed, households still struggle meeting essential day-to-day expenses, with food prices 28.4% higher in August 2023 compared to prices in August 2021 and charities such as the Trussell Trust providing record numbers of emergency food parcels to those in need.
To apply or learn more about the Hammersmith & Fulham Crisis Prevention Fund, visit the fund’s webpage.
Main image credit: Stux (Pixabay user), licenced under Pixabay Content Licence.