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Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund providing tailored support to residents

by Jonathan Kearney

The Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund is supporting residents with tailored support.

Knowsley Council established the £2.5m fund to support residents who are facing a number of diverse issues following the pandemic. The Council, partner agencies and community groups are working with our most vulnerable residents and they can identify the issues impacting on residents and importantly, refer them for appropriate support.

The Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund has appointed a Money Advisor, offering financial management and debt advice to residents.

In a recent case, the Money Advisor received a referral from a social worker who is supporting a disabled resident. The resident had been granted temporary use of his late mum’s property however they were facing eviction due to the non-payment of a property charge. In such circumstances, the occupier is expected to pay a property charge, but this hadn’t been paid and arrears of over £5,000 had been accrued.

The eviction was suspended for 28 days to allow the Money Advisor to do a detailed review of the resident’s financial situation, including what benefits they were entitled to and what benefits they were claiming. Whilst the resident was receiving Universal Credit, they hadn’t claimed the housing element.

Working in partnership with the Council’s Knowsley Housing Solutions Team, an application has now been made for the Universal Credit housing element. In addition, a further review is underway regarding health-related benefits the resident may be entitled to and a Discretionary Housing Payment is being made to address the arrears.

Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources said: “This is another example of where our Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund is providing bespoke support to our residents.

“Understandably, people may not know what support they are entitled to, but our own staff, partner agencies and community groups are working with vulnerable residents and they can identify issues. Once they have referred a resident to our Money Advisor, they can then review what support the resident is entitled to.

“This was a complex case, but I’m pleased that the resident has been supported and will be receiving the benefits they are entitled to as well hopefully resolving their housing issues.”