In an effort to replace the funds that were issued by the central government, the Bristol City Council implemented the local crisis and prevention fund. It is provided on a limited basis to help the vulnerable that are faced with a one off, exceptional emergency or safety crisis.
Any assistance from the scheme is provided as a last resort, and clients need to have applied to other charities first, requested help from friends or family, or even apply for Department of Work and Pensions budgeting loans (call 0845 603 6967) if the person is waiting on benefits. Those are only some example, and the Bristol City Council has many eligibility conditions that need to be met and will require proof and enforce them.
Terms of the funds available in Bristol
The crisis and prevention fund will only assist with one off emergency faced by residents of Bristol on a low income. What the scheme will provide for is limited, but is can include a voucher for a food parcel. There may be grants to pay utility bill arrears, such as gas. Other items may be household items, such as furniture or clothing.
Cash will not be paid out. Any awards from the fund will be issued using other forms of payment. There may be vouchers for the foodbank or if the problem is a fuel bill, then assistance will be given as a pre-payment debit card. Other ways the scheme can help includes household goods, such as furniture, will be delivered and installed in a home or flat. So methods other than cash are used to address the emergency.
Applications are processed by many non-profit organisations in Bristol that the council works with including Centre for Sustainable Energy, Hartcliffe Health Action Group, ARA BCC Housing Advice, and Salvation Army. Or people can stop by the main council office or apply online.
Other tenant and homeless focused charities in the city can also accept applications, and they include CHAS Housing and Places for People. The city council also notes that these two not-for-profit organisations can provide information on housing programmes in the city, including for rent deposits. Tenants threatened by homelessness or that need assistance in moving into private accommodations should note the local crisis fund will not pay for deposits, but there are other options available to residents facing these problems, and find more deposit and rent schemes.
Funding is limited, so the council will prioritise any assistance provided from the local crisis and prevention fund. It is generally for the most vulnerable in the city, including parents with disabled children, people with mental health issues, those resettling into the community such as ex-offenders or the homeless, and others faced with exceptional financial problems.
The council will also require the client to achieve independent living, so they will partner with organisations such as Citizen’s Advice Bureau to address employment or debt problems. The aim is to help the resident gain stability, as awards from the scheme are only provided at most once every two years.
The support workers from any of those organisations listed above can answer questions on the scheme and direct people to forms or applications. These will normally need to be done online. However, in some cases, the support worker will have apply over the telephone, and the number to call is 0800 923 0101. Staff are not always available though, and it is recommended to process an application online. The hours to call will be between 8am and 12pm as well as 1pm and 3.30 pm.