“It’s nice to know there is help available. It’s a good thing organisations like yourselves are trying to help in the time we are living in now.”
Not knowing where to turn when needing support for the first time
Single father Anthony had been working part-time and receiving Universal Credit, but was struggling to afford living costs for his family. His income was not enough to cover the rising costs in his rent and bills, leaving him having to rely on food banks to feed his family as he was having to use some of his income to pay outstanding council tax arrears. Unable to afford public transport, Anthony has to walk over an hour and 15 minutes each way to work.
Anthony had never been in this situation before as had previously been working full-time as a teacher for over 22 years, so didn’t know where to go to find support.
A conversation with their local council provided a lifeline
Anthony spoke with a staff member from Lambeth Council who highlighted the support available through Lightning Reach and pointed him in the direction of the portal. Through this, he was able to apply for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) available from his council, while also being able to see other support available to him after signing up to the portal and answering a few questions. This included a food bank that was closer to his home.
“It was very easy to complete by just answering some simple questions. It was asking appropriate questions that were easy for me to answer - there was never a difficult question. It took no more than 20 minutes to complete the whole thing.”
Anthony received a payment for DHP of £11 per week from Lambeth Council to help with his housing costs. Anthony was surprised how quickly they got back to him, as he had a response on his application within 2 weeks. Receiving the payment had a huge impact on Anthony as it meant he could feed his family better, was able to afford to heat his home and pay his housing costs, and helped reduce stress for him when he was urgently trying to find support.
When asked if he would recommend the portal to others, Anthony said he would mention it to anyone that might need help.
“I would say go for it! You get a lot of information, I’m sure people won’t know a lot about it (the portal and support options available). I’m really glad Lambeth put me on to you - it’s a really handy tool to have.”