How we can help

From time to time you might need some extra financial support or advice. Our customer support team is here to help.

Staff chatting to a young customer

We’ll work with you to improve your finances and your ability to pay your rent. And we can point you in the right direction of other organisations if you need extra support.

What can we help with?

We can help with lots of things, including:

  • assessing what you spend and what you earn
  • helping you to set a personal budget
  • benefit assessments for Housing Benefit and Universal Credit
  • applications for Discretionary Housing Payments
  • assessing eligibility for disability and income replacement benefits
  • applications for utility grants to pay off debt
  • applications for alternative payment arrangements through Universal Credit
  • helping you prioritise important debt, like rent and Council Tax
  • improving your health and accessing local services including GPs and specialist support for drug and alcohol problems.

If you need any help please get in touch with us.

Other ways to find support

Please speak to us if you’re having any difficulties managing your tenancy. You can also speak to other support agencies, including:

  • Shelter can help with legal advice relating to housing issues
  • Women’s Aid can help if you’re dealing with domestic abuse or violence
  • Alcoholics Anonymous provides advice and support if you feel your drinking is becoming a problem
  • Narcotics Anonymous can offer advice and support if you have a problem with drugs
  • If you’re feeling low, the Samaritans are there to listen
  • Gamblers Anonymous offers advice and support if your gambling is an issue
  • Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial trouble, with information on benefits, grants and support services.

How we're helping our customers

In Newcastle we helped a customer reclaim £15,000+ of benefits

When a social worker told us about a customer that was struggling with bills and being taken to court for not paying his council tax, we helped him back on his feet.

We stocked up his cupboards with food using our hardship fund; a local support scheme got his electricity back on and we worked with the Department of Work and Pensions to resolve his benefit issues. He got £15,845 in backdated benefits.

We’re still working with the customer’s social worker to make sure he’s got the support he needs. We’ve asked that the property be exempt from council tax due to his difficulties, and the energy companies are replacing his pre-paid meters so he’s not disconnected again.

Renovating a home in London helped one customer out of isolation

On a recent home visit, our tenancy enforcement officer Maxine, found a customer living in really poor conditions, and with a hoarding problem. He suffered from anxiety, felt isolated and wasn’t getting any support.

Maxine let the customer support team know and we worked with local support schemes to offer him support.

We also refurbished his home and helped with furniture. He’s now got a home to be proud of, where he can invite his family and friends.

Helping a customer get their benefits

An 80-year-old customer was referred to our support team after her husband left their home.

Their benefit had been in her husband’s name, so these were cancelled. We completed new applications for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support, and asked the benefits office to reassess her Pension Credit Claim and Attendance Allowance.

With our help, the customer was awarded £17,385 in benefits she was entitled to.

Helping customers threatened by domestic abuse

A new customer and her 16-year-old son were given an emergency home after suffering domestic abuse. The customer was very vulnerable, upset and suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.

Our support team helped the customer claim her entitled benefits, which together with grants, will help provide an extra £10,489 each year. We also used a local recycle scheme to furnish her home, and helped by buying a cooker and arranging food bank vouchers.

Supporting local families in Havant

A customer was referred to us after her Housing Benefit was stopped and her rent payments stopped.

The customer and her partner have learning difficulties and lived in a one-bedroom flat with their two-year-old daughter. In order to support the family we:

  •  identified a support worker to help the family
  • helped the customer apply for Employment Support Allowance
  • appealed their Housing Benefit cancellation, securing £2,700 in backdated payments, which cleared their arrears.

The customer now has no rent arrears and her partner is on a training programme with Remploy, an agency that helps people with disabilities into the workplace.

Overcoming substance abuse

A customer with arrears of more than £5,000 and ongoing alcohol anti-social behaviour was given a second chance when our support team stepped into help.

The customer support team visited the customer and helped them get back on track by:

  • referring them to their local social services
  • arranging for their Housing Benefit to be reinstated and backdated, giving the customer an extra £4,548 to help pay the arrears
  • secured a council tax reduction
  • applied for Employment Support Allowance.

The customer’s now in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme, has no rent arrears and no anti-social behaviour issues.

Helping a customer develop their passion

One customer in Salford enrolled on an art degree to relieve his severe depression. Unfortunately he was then refused Housing Benefit because he was classed as a full-time student. This left him with £3,800 of rent arrears.

We worked with the customer to appeal the Housing Benefit decision on the grounds of his health, and secured backdated payments to clear his arrears.

The support from our staff meant we were able to secure £8,948 in benefits to help the customer stay in his home.

From shortfall arrears to community volunteering

A 53-year-old customer in West Gorton found himself in rent arrears, caused by a shortfall in his Housing Benefit. He was living in a two-bedroom flat, so he was affected by the under occupancy tax. He admitted he was a heavy drinker and the stress of the arrears was increasing this.

We helped the customer apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment, to reduce the arrears to less than £600. This improved his chance of being allocated a smaller property, which would help make his rent more manageable. The council also assisted by offering to clear the remaining arrears when he moved. We’re helping him look for a suitable place now.

We helped the customer set up a direct debit to manage his payments, which reduced his stress and, in turn, his drinking. We’ve setup payment plans to help him repay his council tax debt and we’re applying for Personal Independence Payments to increase his income.

Getting his life back on track, he’s now hoping to start volunteering in his local community.