19 December 2023
Summary:As the cost of living continues to rise, it’s inevitable that a disproportionate amount of people will fall into financial hardship, particularly those from lower-income households. That’s why our Empowering Futures team are prioritising the needs of residents who are struggling or prone to making ends meet this winter.
MTVH’s Empowering Futures team plays a pivotal role in supporting residents who have fallen into financial difficulty, offering a confidential and impartial service, and working with customers to understand what concerns them the most. With a total of 2,497 referrals this year, the team have supported 1,730 residents with issues such as submitting benefit appeals, addressing fuel poverty and budgeting.
According to the latest data analysis from Census 21, just over 4 in 10 adults are finding it difficult to afford their rent or mortgage payments and half of adults are using less fuel in their homes because of the cost-of-living increases. The survey also revealed that 47% of adults in the UK are using less fuel such as gas and electricity in their homes due to the rise in cost of living.
With this in mind, Specialist Benefits and Debt Caseworker, Jose Doval from MTVH’s Empowering Future’s team has been working tirelessly to ensure that residents experiencing financial difficulty have the support and practical information they need during these challenging times.
Jose recently supported Rosette Nakalema, a 67-year-old pensioner from Edmonton, North London who’s Housing Benefit stopped when she reached state pension age in December 2021, and was unable to claim pension credit. Rosette who is disabled, and in receipt of PIP (Personal Independence Payment) was left feeling distressed and struggling to pay rent from her £624 pension. After learning more about Rosette’s circumstances, Jose provided support with online applications via telephone, as a result Rosette is now able to get her state pension backdated, and receive full Housing Benefit moving forward, as well as £80 per month on Council Tax Support.
Commenting on Jose’s support Rosette said:
“It’s been an extremely difficult time for me, I was really struggling financially especially with rent as I had to pay it from my pension, which was my only source of income. I was overwhelmed with how I needed to go about getting support which caused me a lot of stress and anguish. With Jose’s help, I was able to understand what support was available and how I could go about getting it.”
“Jose helped with developing financial stability in my life, which has relieved a lot of my stress, he is the right person at the right place! I am grateful and truly appreciate all that he has done to help me throughout the process.”
Specialist Benefit and Debt Caseworker, Jose Doval said:
“It’s always difficult to hear when someone is having financial struggles, even more so when it is a vulnerable resident. The number of residents being referred to my team for financial support, has substantially increased and continues to do so, making our role as money advisors more vital than ever.”
“There are a lot of residents like Rosette, who face barriers with completing online tasks such as claiming benefits without support, so it’s important our services are available to them so we can provide them the information and advice they need.”
“I am happy that Rosette is in a better financial situation, and she knows that she can always reach out if she needs help.”
If you are an MTVH resident or customer and you are worried about your financial situation, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss what support we can provide. You can call 0203 535 3535 and ask for the Empowering Futures team or email: EmpoweringFutures@mtvh.co.uk