Islington Council leader Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz urges thousands of low-income working households to apply now for a one-off £250 grant.
Depressingly, the cost of living crisis threatens to deepen the divide between rich and poor even further in Islington, but we are determined to do everything we can to support local people through these challenging times.
We already have one of the most wide-ranging and generous safety nets in the country, to support residents who are understandably struggling. But we know the cost of covering the basics is now so great that many low-income working households – earning just enough to lift them out of benefit entitlement – have slipped from ‘just about managing’ to the brink of disaster. We won’t stand by and let more families be squeezed into debt, homelessness and desperation, so we have set up a targeted £1 million Hardship Fund to help them cover the bills for food, energy and rent.
The fund is split into two grant pots, with one now open for applications from people in Islington’s low-income working households who meet the criteria. They can apply for a one-off £250 grant to alleviate their strained budgets, with the money paid on a first-come, first-served basis. Qualifying households must be renting their home, have total earnings of less than £50,000 before tax, and savings of less than £5,000. This will help ensure that money goes to those most in need of help.
We will use the second pot from our fund to make £250 payments to more than 1,300 households on benefits that did not qualify for any previous cost of living support payments. This money will be paid directly to them and they do not need to apply.
We hope these payments will help ease the financial pressures and psychological toll of the cost of living crisis for more than 3,800 Islington families and vulnerable people. It may save them from having to choose between keeping their family warm or putting food on the table, and will reduce the likelihood of households facing eviction over unpaid rent.
We know that times are really difficult at the moment. Islington Council is here to help, so if you think you might be eligible to apply, please visit islington.gov.uk/hardshipfund. The funding is limited and only available to those who meet the criteria – so apply now. The scheme will close once all funds have been allocated or on 30 April.