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New support programme to help residents with cost of living crisis

Published: 28 June 2023

New support programme New support programme

Plans to distribute further support to residents in Exeter to help with the cost of living crisis have been approved by councillors.

The Executive is recommended to Council that the proposed Household Support Fund – scheme 4 (HSF4) is adopted. The City Council has been allocated £675,706 by Devon County Council to deliver support to low-income residents struggling with the cost of living up to the end of March 2024.

The scheme consists of three projects:

  • One-off support targeted at households identified through Council Tax Support records. Awards to be paid by cash voucher posted to customers by the end of September 2023
  • An application-based scheme for people with characteristics identified as having a priority need where households cannot be individually identified from existing records. Applications will open from October 2023
  • A flexible scheme allowing unspent funding to be allocated to individuals or groups needing extra support between January and March 2024

The fourth Household Support Fund covers 12 months, unlike the previous three schemes which were each for a 6 month period. The longer timeframe allows for a more comprehensive scheme with help provided to more households in need.

The proposed scheme learns from the success of previous schemes – and aims to fill gaps that existed in earlier schemes.

It is designed to provide rapid short-term financial support to address economic vulnerability and financial hardship. It will support households in the most need with food, energy, and water bills. It can also be used to support households with essential costs related to those items and with wider essential costs.

Councillors were told that by using Council Tax Support data to identify low-income households with particular needs, the Council was able to distribute nearly £700,000 of support during 2022/23.

Members of Executive also backed plans agreed to recommend to Council that the proposed Economic Vulnerability Fund scheme is adopted. It will provide crisis support to low-income residents to the end of March 2024, alongside the support of the Household Support Fund scheme 4.

The Economic Vulnerability Fund is designed to reach those missed by other funds but who need help to local people who have become financially vulnerable as a result of the cost of living crisis.

Funding has been received from Devon County Council to cover customer grants up to the agreed amount of £68,918. More details on how households may be able to benefit from this support will be released in due course.

Cllr Barbara Denning, Labour Lead Councillor for Housing Development and Support Services, said: “This support is very welcome as residents continue to struggle through the ongoing cost of living crisis, and I want to thank the team at the Council who are making sure that help gets to those who are most in need of it.

“The team has devised a scheme to ensure no-one needs to miss out on these crucial payments and I want to thank them for their hard work.”

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