The Emergency Help as well as the Sustaining Independent Living programmes that are available in Northamptonshire County were created to be a flexible support scheme for vulnerable families on a low income. The aim is to assist with paying certain expenses and household goods for those that are having challenges in managing their income or that have had a one time financial hardship.
Each of these programmes is aimed at different needs. There are some common criteria in place though, such as neither will provide cash to the applicant under any circumstances. Instead the Northamptonshire council will provide support such as vouchers or give the items to the family directly. The government may also provide such support as pre-paid cards that can be used to pay for certain bills or to buy the items that are needed.
The scheme known as Emergency Help is for families under exceptional financial pressure. The applicant also needs to be either on benefits or eligible for them if they were to apply. The Northamptonshire County council will not offer assistance to those waiting for their benefits to start, and people should apply to a DWP loan for that. If someone is eligible, the council will provide either a voucher or some other form of support, as indicated below.
- Food – The Northamptonshire Council partners with both independent and Trussell Trust food banks in the county. They will offer a voucher to those centres as part of Emergency Help.
- Travel – Expenses can be used for a taxi service in a crisis.
- Energy bills – The households needs to have tried a payment plan and also charity services. If this has been done with no success, then a pre-paid fuel card may be issued for energy bills.
- Household goods – Vouchers may be given for furniture, white goods, and other needs.
- Additional costs – At the discretion of the council, they may help with other emergency bills as part of this welfare scheme. The aim is on health and safety issues.
- Heating bills – During the winter the Northamptonshire tries to keep the vulnerable safe and can offer assistance for these costs as part of welfare.
The Northamptonshire Sustaining Independent Living scheme, or SIL, is for housing needs to keep the resident living independently. While it does not replace the Community Care Grant, some of the types of assistance provided are very similar. A referral is needed for this form of support, and it can be obtained from Social Services, GP, Gateway Worker, or a few other government sources.
This type of assistance is also for people on a low income that are over the age of 16 and local. The council will also require the Northamptonshire family to be on benefits. The aim is to keep the family living in the county or help them if they are leaving care.
If someone is given an award as part of Sustaining Independent Living, the council will provide the goods directly to the household. So if the person was approved for furniture, then the council will give them a bed, appliance, or whatever the award covers. Or assistance can also be arranged in order to help a vulnerable Northamptonshire County family to remain living in the community.
Northamptonshire Council will also combines free advice and information along with welfare. This is done to help the family overcome poverty. This could involve referrals to Northampton and County Community Law service or a not-for-profit such as Citizen’s Advice.
For more information or to apply, the general advice line for the county is 0300 126 1000. The hours of operate are Monday to Friday.