The main emergency scheme in Essex County, which is known as the Essential Living Fund Grant, can help households on a low income with basic needs and living expenses. The county council created this programme to provide one-off help to individuals that are facing a crisis, and there may be grants that provide food or items people need to be independent.
The ELF scheme will not provide cash to individuals, but they instead will receive a voucher or maybe a pre-paid card, however it is still considered to be a grant. In some cases, the council will provide the goods themselves to the applicant, such as furniture or clothing. However most of the aid from the council is for food and general living expenses and can include milk, teas, tinned meats, groceries, and non-perishable canned items. A voucher will be provided that families use to get this food.
In order to apply for help from the Essential Living Fund Grant Scheme, the individual must be receiving benefits or be on a low income, and they also need to be age 16 or over. When applying, the applicant needs to have proof of earnings, income and savings. All applications are done over the phone, and people need to call 0300 7900124 for more information.
Assistance provided by ELF scheme in Essex County
Any grants from the council are discretionary. The specialists will review applications and take a look at the applicant’s need and past financial situation. There are no guarantees from aid from this scheme, and all funds are limited and come with conditions.
There will also not be any cash provided for bills or emergency needs. Instead a voucher will be used or maybe the goods are provided directly to the individual. What ELF can provide is the following,
- Household items may be provided, and this may include furniture, household equipment, fridges, white goods, and similar items.
- Food is the main priority, for children, women, people with a physical disability and the low income. The Essential Living Fund Grant Scheme will offer a voucher for a supermarket or food bank and other assistance.
- Clothing is provided to students or people seeking a job.
- While limited, the scheme may have a pre-paid card to pay for fuel connection bills.
The Essex County Council can also provide referrals and advice to help the client gain independent living. Families that qualify for a grant from the ELF scheme will often be given a voucher that they can use at local food banks, and this is where they can get additional assistance such as a meal or non-perishable goods. To find locations of food banks in Essex, call 01722 580 180.
There is no assistance for housing or rent payments from ELF. The council does get many requests from tenants that are in arrears, and those individuals are referred to other programmes, such as discretionary housing payments. There are other solutions to explore, and find emergency and housing payments.
The Essex Community Development Officer can also help people with finding a job. Most of the aid is provided in the form of referrals to charities and organisations that specialize in providing this service, and it is often for individuals that are eligible for the Essential Living Fund Grant Scheme.
The council partners with these charities on creating training courses, provides internet access points, help with creating a CV, and provide other counselling. The employment will help people maximise their income so they can buy groceries in the future and prevent the need for future help from the council. Call 01702 445293 to reach the community development centre and the job training information.
The county council processes applications for the entire region. Families in all cities and towns can apply by calling 0300 7900124 or dropping in at the main office.