Financial help and advice

Cost of living crisis banner

There are many things you can do to ensure you don’t fall into debt, including budgeting, contacting your creditors to see which options are available to you and applying for benefits which you’re entitled to. 

If you’re concerned we recommend you look into all of the options available, to see what you’re eligible for and what suits your personal situation, such as: 

You may also find that using a budget planner, such as this from the Money Advice Service, can help you to gain a better understanding of your current situation, and how to manage your outgoings to ensure your bills are still being paid. 

If you find that your income still doesn’t meet your outgoings, then there are a number of ways that you can manage your bills such as: 

  • taking a mortgage payment holiday
  • talking to your creditors if you think you’re going to miss payments
  • checking your insurance policies to see what situations it covers 
  • contact your energy and water providers if you’re unable to pay to see if they have special measures in place to help

Do also take a look at these websites.

  • Debt Test – Many people who fall into debt do not realise until it is too late. This debt test will help you understand how close you are to having a debt problem.
  • GOV.UK insolvency section – There are options available to help with paying off debts. The GOV.UK website provides support options for those who are stuck with too much debt, as well as connecting you with a debt advisor. 
  • Help with budget planning  – Learn how to best manage your budgets and save money throughout the year.
  • If you’re over 60 and need help and advice, contact the local Age UK group. They can provide help with checking your finances and finding out what’s available to you.

We run an emergency assistance scheme with our partners DABD where you can get financial support with clothes, goods, bills and food.

Apply for support through the Havering Helps - Emergency Assistance Scheme on the DABD website

Under the Private Housing Health Assistance Policy we have discretionary assistance for occupiers over the age of 65, or those with chronic or severe health conditions (including children and younger adults) affected by poor housing conditions and provides: 

  • essential repairs to their home in order to remain safe and healthy
  • a gas central heating system of suitable design and installation for a homeowner with vulnerable occupiers, where previously there has been no such system, or where the existing system, in the opinion of the contractor/surveyor, cannot be effectively repaired at reasonable cost or where it has been condemned by a suitable competent person
  • assistance to owner occupiers where works are needed to make the dwelling wind and weatherproof or reduce a hazard. 

The maximum amount is £12,000.

Contact our Adult Social Care Team to apply

Please talk to us first to get support as we can make sure you can access the right benefits for you.

You’ll find lots of information on our benefits pages.

Go to our benefits pages

The GOV.UK website provides a free and anonymous benefits calculator to check what you could be entitled to.

Your utilities provider will have their own help and support, just make sure you speak to them sooner rather than later.

Damp and mould

If you pay Council Tax, and you cannot afford to make payments due to coronavirus please contact us immediately to discuss. We can help.

Go to our Council Tax pages

You can also call 01708 433997.

For working age tax payers, Council Tax Support may reduce your bill by up to 80 per cent.

If you think it’s unlikely you will be eligible for Council Tax Support, please contact us anyway as we can still help you.

We are also accepting applications for longer-term payment plans to help our residents. 

Go to our Council Tax Support pages to apply

You can also call 01708 433996.

Council tax discretionary hardship payments will be available for residents made economically vulnerable residents by coronavirus. 

Apply for a discretionary hardship payment

£100 for pensioner residents receiving Council Tax Support from the Household Support Fund

If you are a pensioner on Council Tax Support, £100 has been credited to your Council Tax account to help with the increased cost of living.

This amount will be taken off your next Council Tax instalment.

If you would like, we can pay the £100 credit direct to your bank account. Please complete the request a refund form on the refunds page to tell us that you would like to be paid that way and please mention the £100 in your refund request.

In and between term school meal support for children

See what between term time meal support you can get if you are eligible.

Apply for free school meals for Reception, Year 1 and 2. To prepare a packed lunch that is equivalent to a nutritious school meal, and has the variety of a different meal a day, will cost on average £2.25 per day.

Family Services Hub

Go to the hub to find a range of support

Holiday Activity and Food Programme

The Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) is a funded initiative that provides fun activity and food provision for children aged 4-16 who are eligible for benefit-related free school meals during the Easter, Summer and Christmas Holidays.

  • Havering Works - Local employment skills and advice support.
  • Find a Job – The GOV>UK website provides a job search service, which has replaces ‘Universal Jobmatch’ helping you to find a new role.

Council tenants

If you’re a council tenant and you don’t think you’re going to be able to pay your rent, you can claim Universal Credit straight away.

Please make sure you contact us so that we can provide help and advice to prevent debt which may become unmanageable in the future.

Private tenants

The same advice applies for private tenants. Please make a Universal Credit claim.

If you’re unable to afford your rent, speak to your landlord as soon as possible.

The Royal British Legion (RBL) has launched its new Everyday Needs Grants Programme, aimed at members of the Armed Forces community who are struggling with the rising cost of living.

The grant provides a quick and easy way to help members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families with everyday essentials such as kitchen appliances, clothes, and energy costs.

This programme is open to anyone who is eligible for support and struggling to pay for items and services they need.

You can check eligibility and apply online through the Royal British Legion website cost of living page.

They aim to assess your application within five days of submission.

Eligible applicants will receive a grant of up to £2,400 over 12 months.

If you’re still struggling to find support, you can contact us directly. Email costoflivingresponse@havering.gov.uk, or call the Cost of Living helpline on 01708 432280.

Please note, these lines may be busy, so make sure you have checked this page for information before calling.

If you know of any elderly or vulnerable friends or relatives that need support, but are unable to access the internet, please share the helpline number with them.

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