City of York Council has today announced details of a new Emergency Fund totalling £1.25m to support residents facing hardship during the Covid -19 pandemic.
With the funding in place, residents will now be able to receive financial support from two funding streams, depending on their circumstances and how much help they need. The two funds are:
• Emergency Hardship Fund for residents affected by Covid-19
• Council tax Covid-19 Hardship Fund
Leader of City of York Council, Cllr Keith Aspden, said:
“The outbreak of Coronavirus has affected many residents across the city and as a council, we are working to explore all options to support residents and businesses to help them get through this challenging time.
“That is why I am pleased to announce our second local emergency fund, which has been designed to support those residents who have seen their personal finance significantly and negatively affected by the outbreak.”
“Our two new financial assistance funds will go a long way to supporting residents, alongside additional support for working aged residents, who claim Council Tax Support. I would strongly encourage any resident or business facing hardship to get in touch with the Council.”
“It is also important to take the opportunity to urge landlords across the city and beyond to be accommodating to tenants who may be facing financial difficulties during this time. “
The first fund is an extension of the York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS). This provides help to local people in financial difficulties due to exceptional circumstances and crisis. Additional funding has now been made available to help people affected by Covid-19.
The Covid-19 Hardship Fund will see the Council provide Council Tax relief for the most vulnerable. Working aged people who claim Council Tax Support will receive an additional award for £150 towards their total bill for 2020/21. This will reduce their monthly repayments.
You can find more information on both schemes below.
YFAS offers two types of assistance:
• Emergency Assistance for a disaster or crisis
• Community Assistance to help with exceptional pressures or financial difficulties
Applications to YFAS will be accepted from York residents. Previous annual income criteria will not apply. Applications will be considered by looking at a person’s individual financial circumstances. The scheme is open to all York residents.
Emergency assistance is provided in several key areas, including:
• Supermarket vouchers
These are available to people who do not have money for food and other household essentials. Vouchers will be provided electronically to be used in a specific supermarkets. If you, or someone on your behalf, are not able to go to the supermarket to collect your shopping, you should the Covid-19 Community Hubs who will arrange support for you.
• Gas & electricity
If you have a prepayment meter and have no money to top up or have no way of topping it up contact you energy provider for assistance in the first instance. If you’re still struggling to pay your bill, you will receive support and no meter disconnections will take place.
• Other heating costs
If you have other heating costs, such as oil and need assistance, please apply giving as much detail as possible. These will be considered on the basis of need.
This part of the scheme provides help with basic necessities.
Applications will be considered for essential appliances where people do not have a working cooker, fridge, freezer or washing machines. Goods will be delivered to your home and Cookers and washing machines professionally installed.
To apply for a YFAS grant visit https://www.york.gov.uk/YFAS or call 01904 551550.
The Council will also be providing council tax relief for the most vulnerable.
Working aged people who claim Council Tax Support will receive an additional award for £150 towards their total bill for 2020/21. This will reduce their monthly repayments.
York residents who receive Council Tax Support will automatically be awarded the additional amount into council tax accounts. The Council will be making these awards into people’s accounts over the coming weeks.
Residents do not need to do anything. If they are already receiving Council Tax Support the extra award will be added to their account and they will receive a new bill with revised monthly payments.
Anyone making a new claim for Council Tax Support will have the amount added once their claim has been assessed.
If you are struggling to pay your council tax:
Claim council Support online at www.york.gov.uk/CouncilTaxSupport
If you are already in receipt of Council Tax Support and your income has changed please tell us so we can check your claim at www.york.gov.uk/BenefitsChangeOfCircumstances
For the latest information on help and support for people affected by coronavirus visit www.york.gov.uk/coronavirus