In 2020, with the help of its Tenants' Forum, Havebury Housing Partnership launched the Tenants' Hardship Fund, to give additional support to residents who have struggled during the pandemic.
One tenant, Natasha (not her real name) found herself in a desperate position when her job as a hairdresser suddenly stopped and she was struggling to heat her home and feed herself and her two young sons.
“I just couldn’t keep up with my outgoings,” she explained. “There were days when I couldn’t afford breakfast, and we had no heating for a while because I’d run out of oil. “I’m quite a proud person and I didn’t want people to know I was struggling. When you’re in that mindset, you just don’t know which way to turn. It got to a point where I would worry I was going to lose my house.”
Natasha realised she would have to contact Havebury’s Welfare team. The team helped her with a new Universal Credit claim, which increased her household income by more than £1,100 a month. Natasha was also given 800 litres of oil to heat her home and she also made a successful application to the Hardship Fund, receiving £250 to spend on food for her family.
Natasha said: “It’s amazing; I can go shopping without worrying now; it’s encouraged me to be more responsible, and I’m better at budgeting.”
Havebury is extending the Tenants’ Hardship Fund until April 2022.