Individuals in Devon on a low income, and people facing a crisis situation, can get help from the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme. The funds from the government are to assist people that are facing a financial emergency, and the money is for rent deposits for those threatened with homelessness. Other uses of the scheme in Devon can be for food or meals to prevent hunger. Any grants paid out are at the direction of the council for families or individuals that meet all criteria.
The funds from the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme are used to pay bills that the individual needs help with. People can only apply once every twelve months, if they meet council eligibility rules. Funds can be used to help with the following costs.
- Rental deposit payments are provided to resettle a family into a more affordable accommodation if they are threatened with homelessness in their current home.
- The scheme can be used for food expenses, including meats, non-perishable items, and meals.
- In some cases, funds are used for white goods or furniture for a new flat. Fuel bills can’t be covered by the scheme.
The council will not only provide a client with a grant, but there is free advice and counselling provided too from partners such as Moneywise. So the client will get advice on addressing debt arrears, proper money management, and other services. All of the advice is provided is confidential and is done for free. This is provided to help address the cause of the hardship and ensure the client addresses the crisis.
Referrals are provided by the Devon Council as well or from Moneywise. Specialists from these organisations will provide information on local Trussel Trust foodbanks, charitable schemes for rent in advance payments, and other housing assistance. This is done as there are other groups in Devon that can help the individual address the crisis they are facing.
How to apply for Local Welfare Assistance in Devon
All of the assistance from the welfare scheme is limited. Applicants need to meet many criteria, including be on a low income. The grants paid out are also as a last resort, and the applicant needs to have applied for other Devon charitable aid first, before applying for any grants from the Devon council. The person or family applying also can’t have more than £500 of savings, and they can’t apply for welfare multiple times per year.
Based on this assessment and interview that takes place when applying, in some cases the person will be issued a loan for their bills as part of the scheme. This will be mainly for rent deposits or other housing costs, and the tenant will need to repay any funds provided to them for those expenses. The payment terms for the loan will be agreed to with the council, and the interest rate charged will be very low. If the funds are not repaid, then the scheme will allow the council to take legal action.
To apply, call the council at 01884 255255. Or there are internet access points in Mid Devon that people can use to submit an application for the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme. Lastly, people can stop by the main council office at Phoenix House, Phoenix Lane, Tiverton, EX16 6PP for an applications. The office is open from Monday to Friday, but call for hours.
Each application is reviewed by the council, and many will need to be denied due to lack of funding. The council will review the need and urgency. They also need to ensure that people have applied for assistance from other foodbanks or charities first.