£500k to help vulnerable stay warm this winter
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Health, Local Government
A government programme will see £500,000 made available to help home improvement agencies (HIAs) give vulnerable people advice on how to stay warm this winter.
HIA staff will provide one-to-one guidance to 4,000 households, while 1,000 households will receive funding for small improvements such as boiler repairs, window draught-proofing and new gas fires.
Financed by the Warm Homes, Healthy People fund - part of the Department of Health’s initiative to reduce deaths over the winter - the 'Foundations Warm Homes Service' scheme will be managed by FILT (Foundations Independent Living Trust), the charitable arm of foundations which represents home improvement agencies in England.
The scheme will be delivered via a national network of over 170 home improvement agencies across England that help more than 200,000 older, disabled and low income-earning people to repair and adapt their homes every year.
The £500k fund will be used to train 400 caseworkers and handypersons on how best to advise on avoiding fuel poverty and achieve a healthy and warm living environment.
Advice will be tailored to each individual and may include guidance on ways to control use of fuel, assistance on accessing energy efficiency financial support and a benefits entitlement check.
FILT's chair, former housing minister Baroness Kay Andrews, said: “This is the first time the HIA sector has been directly funded to make a significant contribution to tackling fuel poverty and it’s a great opportunity for HIAs to build on the fantastic local work they already do. I’m delighted that the trusting relationship HIA case workers have with thousands of vulnerable people has been recognised as an important tool to help reduce fuel poverty, quickly and effectively.”