Families in North Yorkshire who may struggle to meet essential living costs this winter are being notified that they can apply for payments equating to £250 to pay for food and other costs.
North Yorkshire was allocated £3.5 million from the Department for Work and Pensions in Household Support Funding.
The Household Support Fund will see supermarket vouchers provided to people in North Yorkshire who receive means-tested council tax support or reduction and have a child under the age of 19 living at home. The e-vouchers can be used online or in stores locally and should help people meet the costs of food, energy bills and other utilities, as the economy recovers from the pandemic this winter.
Eligible households in North Yorkshire are currently being contacted by letter, which will let residents know how to claim the e-vouchers, which will be equivalent to two payments of £125, one before Christmas and the second in January 2022. The letters will contain a unique code which can be used to access the vouchers online.
It is anticipated about 8,000 families in the county will be contacted and informed they are eligible for the award.
The remainder of the money will be distributed among other assistance schemes in the county which can be accessed by residents who don’t meet the eligibility criteria for voucher payments, but who are also likely to struggle to afford basic necessities, including household goods this winter.
This includes the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund, which has been running in the county for eight years, but will receive additional funding from the council’s Household Support Fund allocation. Eligibility criteria will be expanded and households will be able to make up to four applications for support for food or utilities to the fund, rather than the current two. The assistance fund makes awards in kind, by supplying basic necessities or household goods.
In addition, people can also apply to the Warm and Well in North Yorkshire fund, which provides advice on saving money on energy costs, help with minor repairs to make homes warmer and more energy efficient and access to its hardship fund for people in urgent need.
We will also allocate some of the funding to local food banks.
People who are not eligible for direct payments, but think they may be eligible for council tax reductions are encouraged to contact their local district or borough council to find out if they qualify. Get more information on council tax reduction/support.
Cllr David Chance, Executive Member for Stronger Communities said: “The Household Support Fund is a new scheme announced by the Government in October this year.
“In North Yorkshire, we have put together an eligibility criteria to identify those most in need of financial support this winter, which recognises the current pressures heading into winter, including the end of the national furlough scheme and increased costs of essential goods and services.
“If you don’t receive a letter, but are struggling to afford food or heating, you may be eligible for help from North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund, or Warm and Well North Yorkshire.”