The council of the borough of Brent administers the Local Welfare Assistance scheme for families on a low income or those in a crisis. The council will provide one-off support for addressing an emergency, and another use of welfare is to help people so they remain independent in the community.
There are a few aims of this scheme, and the council will do what they can to help reduce financial pressure on families that are facing a hardship. Other clients can be the vulnerable or people facing a health issue. In most cases, vouchers are issued to residents for goods such as household equipment or food, as these can help ensure residents of Brent continue to be independent.
After applying as indicated below, any payment are made to individuals on a pre-paid debit card. This ensures the council has control over the funds as they can decide what types of expenses are paid for. The two main types of payments from the welfare scheme are as follows.
The vulnerable who need help to remain living in Brent can apply as part of the community payments. The council will either provide the goods themselves (such as clothing or furniture) or issue a voucher. Other types of needs that may be met can be white goods or even travel costs in an emergency.
Health and safety issues as well as disaster support is from the welfare crisis payments. If someone was impacted by a fire, then the scheme may give them furniture for a new home. Or those under exception hardship and can’t feed their family can be given a parcel of food to last a few days. This assistance from the council is always one-off and short term. It can help ease that pressure on the low income family.
Awards from the welfare scheme in Brent can cover many bills or needs. The list above are just some examples. If the resident is on a low income or benefits they can still apply. The council will review each request on merit and made decisions to what the payment will cover or not. Even if it is denied, signposting may be provided in lieu of a payment.
The main priority will always be on health or safety needs though. So items such as heaters or even a rent deposit can be paid as part of community payments, if it could lead to a health concern. This may be considered if the applicant has no other options available to them. However that is also always at the discretion of the council.
Brent local welfare will include payments as well advice on solving the crisis, and this is done using a holistic approach. The Brent Council partners with other groups in the borough, ranging from Citizens Advice to services provided at Trussell Trust food banks or Job Centre Plus centres. Representatives from these different organisations can be key to helping the family exit poverty. Welfare will offer the solutions below as well.
- Budgeting advice, including on debts or rent arrears and financial education.
- Housing support for tenants to help them maintain their tenancy agreement.
- Income maximisation, whether applying for government benefits or job training.
If the council in Brent can’t meet the needs of the family, then signposting is provided. The staff at the office will give referrals to other services. It addresses needs such as fuel efficiency, jobs, and similar. The office will have information on charity organisations in the area as well.
To apply for welfare, residents can call the customer service team at 020 8937 5796. Even if an award is not issues, the individual may be provided advice for addressing their emergency.