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Wellbeing Fund Guidance Notes

The Community Housing Wellbeing Fund is here to give fast and flexible support to our customers during these challenging times.

The Fund can help cover the cost of food, essential items such as washing machines, energy and utility costs as well as helping to bridge the gap between a benefit application and first payment.

Note we are no longer funding cookers and instead we can offer a microwave or an air fryer.

If you are interested in seeing if the Wellbeing fund can help you, fill in our online application form which only takes a few minutes to complete.

We require 2 months bank statements with each claim. You can send them to us by email at tenancysustainabilityteam@communityhousing.co.uk, or bring them into our office at 3 Foley Grove, Kidderminster DY10 7PT and we will make copies. The bank statements will be deleted as soon as we have made a decision about your claim. If we do not receive bank statements within 5 days we will not be able to process the claim.

What's the process?

  1. Complete Application Form
  2. Applicant will receive a confirmation of receipt of application
  3. The application will be checked for eligibility internally
  4. If eligible the applicant will be contacted by a member of the Money advice and Sustainability Team to complete a financial assessment
  5. If approved by Money advice and Sustainability Team the application will then go to the Wellbeing Fund panel to approve/decline
  6. The applicant will be informed of the Panel decision
  7. If the application is approved the Housing Support Team will get in touch with the applicants regarding next steps for the payment/delivery of goods.

Things that the wellbeing fund can and cannot help with:

Things the crisis fund can help with Things the crisis fund cannot help with
  • White goods, furniture and essential household items
  • Energy and Utility Costs (high heating costs, high-rate debt repayment meters) Pre cards only
  • Equipment or services to support employment/training or basic living needs
  • Shopping vouchers for food (issued when access to a food bank is not possible)
  • Support for Customers in UC waiting period (bridge the gap between your first payment and any unplanned spend)
  • Sanctuary works where the customer has fled domestic abuse
  • Cash payments direct to customers
  • Rent
  • Council Tax
  • TVs
  • Computers or games consoles
  • Property repairs and improvements
  • School uniform*
  • Water rates or metered charges**
  • Luxury items

* schools and academies have a hardship fund that parents experiencing financial difficulties can access

** The Big Difference Scheme run by Severn Trent may be able to assist with water rates or meter charges

The lists above are not exhaustive.

What is the Well Being Fund?

Community Housing have set aside funds to help those households facing a genuine, short-term crisis. We understand that many families experience financial difficulty and are just getting by. This can mean that unexpected expenses could potentially lead individuals into financial decisions which could have long lasting, negative consequences. We will not seek repayment of funds providing they have been obtained legitimately. The Wellbeing Fund is open to all customers of Community Housing including shared owners.

If funds are obtained through deception or fraud, Community Housing will rigorously seek repayment which may include legal proceedings.

Funds are limited and we need to ensure that they go to those most in need. Applications for up to £250 can be made. Once funds are depleted no further awards can be made.

The wellbeing fund is for essential items only to get households through an immediate, short-term crisis, whilst they take steps to improve their financial situation. This is likely to include working with Money advice and Sustainability Team or citizens advice for debt and benefits advice to ensure they are receiving all the welfare benefits they may be entitled to, accessing social tariffs or other funding, and renegotiating non-priority debt repayments and working up a realistic budget.

How often can I access the wellbeing fund?

The wellbeing fund must not be used to supplement income or be relied upon for day to day living expenses. As such claims are limited to 1 claim in 12 months per household. No second award will be granted where following the first award the household failed to engage with support service fully to improve their circumstances as described as above. The fund cannot support anyone who is not a Community Housing customer.

No cash payments will be made directly through the fund to applicants.

The fund is discretionary, and all decisions are final. There is no right of appeal on decisions made not to award a payment. Decisions made are not subject to the Community Housing Appeals Policy.

What information do you need?

In determining if an award should be made, we will look at bank statements, and go through full income and expenditure details with the applicant, looking at increasing income where possible, and reducing costs and outgoings. We may make additional enquiries with the applicant about any non-essential expenditure, and we would expect applicants to cooperate in these enquiries. After 4 unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the customer, the claim may be rejected. If the bank statements are not supplied within 10 working days after request, the claim will be rejected. Information supplied will be used to undertake s benefit entitlement calculations and we will seek to support where there is an apparent entitlement, but benefit is not in payment.

Are there exclusions?

Community Housing will not make payments to a person they are actively taking legal action against either for a breach of tenancy, anti-social behaviour, failure to allow access to the property for repairs or servicing activity or any other reason.

It is recognised that customers in financial crisis may experience difficulty with rent payments and applicants with rent arrears (including customers subject to a court order for arrears) are not excluded from the scheme providing they are working with officers to resolve their debt and are maintaining a repayment agreement. This includes customers who are subject to legal action for arrears. The income team can be contacted on 0300 003 5454.