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Worried about money this winter? We’re here to help

19 November, 2021

With Christmas on the way and rising food and energy prices - this could be the toughest winter yet for many households.

Not only is the cost of living increasing, but many people are also seeing a drop in their income after the furlough scheme ended, along with the Universal Credit uplift of £20 per week.

It’s estimated that 3.5 million households across the UK could face fuel poverty this winter, but if you’re a Salix Homes customer and are worried about your finances, then our Income Management Team is here to help.

Sharon Simmonds, income manager at Salix Homes said: “It seems like all of these financial pressures have hit at the same time. People are worried about how they will heat their homes or put food on the table - let alone how they’ll buy Christmas presents this year.

“If you’re worried about how to pay the bills this winter, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We can provide advice and support and can refer or signpost our customers to specialist agencies if it is something we cannot help directly with.

“The main thing is to not suffer in silence and let your debts and worries mount up around you. We’re well positioned to offer support and advice to our customers facing these growing pressures.”

If you are struggling to pay your rent or are experiencing debt issues, there’s lots of ways that our Income Management Team support you, such as:

  • Discretionary Housing Payment – we can assist customers in receipt of Housing Benefit (HB) or Universal Credit (UC) to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from Salford City Council. This is an extra amount of money to help pay your rent. DHPs are not benefits and no-one has an automatic right to payment. They are awarded at the discretion of the council.
  • Salix Hardship Fund – we can assist customers who are experiencing a crisis situation and are having difficulty paying their rent  (* subject to eligibility) to apply for a Hardship Fund payment of up to £250 to help towards paying rent arrears or towards removal costs where it will be financially beneficial for a customer to downsize to a smaller property.
  • Salix Tenancy Sustainment Team- we can refer customers with more complex support requirements e.g mental and physical health, drug and alcohol dependency, social isolation and digital exclusion to our new specialist team to help manage and maintain their home and tenancy.
  • Salix Recycling Scheme – we can refer customers to this scheme who are struggling with the expense of buying furniture or white goods. These items are provided free of charge to customers who need them (subject to availability) 
  • Foodbank vouchers – we can raise foodbank vouchers for customers who are struggling to pay for food.
  • Referral to external agencies– we can refer customers with more complex needs to specialist support agencies such as Citizens Advice or Welfare Rights
  • Carry out income and expenditure assessments – we can ensure that customers are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to.
  • Challenge Benefit decisions – if an error has been made, we can support our tenants to challenge the decision.
  • United Utilities- The company has a range of support schemes to help make water bills more affordable, especially if you’re receiving benefits such as Universal Credit. The number to call to find out more is 0800 072 6765

During the past year alone, our Income Management Team has helped secure an additional £108,600 in benefits for customers that they were entitled to.

Sharon added:  “People may be nervous to get in touch with the team and admit that they’ve got money problems. We really are here to help and will do everything that we can to ease financial hardship.

“Following a marital breakdown, one of our customers contacted the team for help. They had never had a bank account before and had no experience in managing their finances.

“We were able to get their Universal Credit payments set up and onto their rent account.  Through a referral to Salford Assist, we were also able to secure food and energy vouchers for them and we helped them through the process of setting up their own bank account and referred them to our Furniture Recycling Team to pick out some household items, all of which has made a real difference and helped ease the financial burden.”

If you are struggling to pay your rent or bills and need advice or support, you can contact our Income Management Team on 0800 218 2000.