The local welfare programme in Sunderland is called Crisis Support, and the aim is to help the low income that have no other options available to them. Central government funding can be used to assist residents and address an emergency they may be threatened with. The council can offer a combination of vouchers or other items that will be provided to the vulnerable for issues ranging from travel to food or heating needs.
Any assistance from the Sunderland City Council is limited, is at their discretion, and people need to be found eligible by the council. Another key is that the scheme is a last resort and residents need to have applied for other support first, such as a budgeting loan or help from a charity, before seeking financial assistance from Crisis Support. This even includes people need to have looked for support from Department for Work and Pensions programmes.
To apply, the following criteria need to be met, and the council can provide more information as well when needed.
- The applicant needs to be on a low income, and not have any other savings or investments they can use.
- Any type of help for paying bills or vouchers are only for people with a local connection to the city of Sunderland, and the council can go over the guidelines for this. The link must be for the previous 12 months.
- The person or family must also be receiving benefits, and this can range from Council Tax Support, Universal Credit, Income Support, or Housing Benefits.
- Proof of the hardship is needed, as well as applications to other local schemes. The person must show their request was declined.
The funds from the Sunderland City Council Crisis Support are limited, and no cash will be provided. Instead, the council will offer vouchers or a pre-paid card, or in some cases the goods may be provided directly to the family, such as furniture. The main forms of assistance are as follows.
- Vouchers for utility bill arrears, such as gas or heating costs. A pre-paid card may be used to help the vulnerable resident in Sunderland top off their meter.
- Families or children facing hunger may be provided a voucher to get a free parcel of groceries from a food bank.
- Emergency travel for death or illness may be arranged by the Council.
- People resettling can receive white goods, furniture, or information on housing assistance as part of Crisis Support. The council also has referrals to other local schemes for white goods, including free furniture.
There is also a priority given to families on a low income with children or people with a health or safety emergency. The homeless as well as substance mis-users in Sunderland are also beneficiaries of the welfare scheme, and they can receive everything from housing to food or clothing for their needs. Victims of domestic abuse may also receive crisis support, mostly with resettling.
There is also assistance for people of different agences. The Sunderland City Council can provide grants for both young people leaving care as well as the elderly, and they too can receive food or other support. Another aim is to help older, vulnerable individuals with heating costs during the winter months.
To apply or get more information on the scheme, the Home and Money Department of the council is the agency to call. The phone number is 0191 520 5551. It will be combined with advice on solving the crisis.