In a crisis, the low income residents in Cheshire West and Chester can get assistance from Help in Emergencies for Local People, or HELP. The scheme was created to be a last resort for people with a financial emergency, and it can provide everything from food to housing and items such as furniture. There is aid for the vulnerable as well as unemployed in Cheshire, so the scheme is thorough.
The council will review all applications for the HELP scheme, and any aid provided is at their discretion. Of priority will be tenants or homeowners that receive Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Housing Benefit,, Universal Credit or maybe the housing related Pension Credit. The funds are limited and many applications will need to be refused, and then the individual will be given a referral or advice in lieu of financial aid.
The Help in Emergencies for Local People scheme will also come with conditions. Those individuals from Chester or Cheshire West will need to agree to budget and maximise their income. They can only use the funds for certain approved bills, such as food or a rent deposit on a new property. So there will be conditions placed on the applicant before any funds or maybe a voucher is issued. Since the funds are at the discretion of the council, the applicant will need to accept any financial support or even advice which is offered by the council.
Payments will be based on a means test that is done by the council. This will include all income and savings that the household has, and includes things such as Housing Benefit or any other food aid they get. This test will also consider things such as Council Tax Reduction as a source of income for this test.
The applicant will also need to meet the definition of being vulnerable, and assistance will help those individuals with their living expenses or other bills they have. The person who is assisted needs to enroll into budgeting and other workshops too.
Types of bills paid from Help in Emergencies for Local People (HELP)
The scheme can only be used once per twelve months, and the council will provide financial aid as a last resort, after the person has applied to other charities and agencies first. Council funding may run out in any month, and applications may be refused, or in most cases, cash will not be provided but individuals in Cheshire West and Chester will either be issued a voucher or pre-paid card.
Depending on the need, the voucher can be used for goods such as a parcel of food or maybe clothing at a local food bank. In some cases, a pre-paid card can help pay any rent arrears or even a portion of a security deposit. Other uses of HELP can be for recycled goods, such as furniture. The scheme is also combined with other charity and not-profit profit programmes ranging from housing payments from the council to meals from churches and charities in Cheshire.
Funding is limited, so HELP will need to decline many people. In these cases there may be other assistance in the area that people can turn to. For example, charities will or specialists from agencies will provide other aid to family’s with dependent child living with them on a permanent basis or the terminally ill in Cheshire West and Chester. There are also various schemes for homeless prevention, including for rental deposits for new affordable flats.
To apply for HELP or make a claim, call 0300 123 7065. The main council office and the frontline workers may not have information on this, so people need to call that number to apply.