Get help with the Cost of Living Crisis
Get help with the Cost of Living Crisis
The Cost of Living Crisis is having a major impact on people across the country. As food, energy and other bills are all rising, many people are worried about how they are going to make ends meet.
We know that for many of our customers this is a challenging and scary time, but you’re not alone.
YHN has a range of dedicated and award-winning advice, information and support services that are available to help you through this period of uncertainty.
We have produced a leaflet, available here as well as going out to all customers in the October edition of Homes & People, which features information and details on who you can contact if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help so please get in touch on 0191 278 8600 if you are concerned or have any issues.
We have a variety of specialist support and advice teams available at YHN.
Digital Skills Support
Get Online Newcastle is a partnership between Newcastle City Council and Your Homes Newcastle. We are committed to supporting people to get online and equipping them with valuable digital skills.
If you want to speak to someone about how to get started online, give us a call on 0191 277 8842, our phone line is open Monday to Friday, 10am until 2.00pm.
Support & Progression Team
Our Support & Progression services provide personalised support to help customers access a home, sustain their tenancies and improve their health and wellbeing. The service helps to make living easier by offering advice and support on a range of issues that can impact on managing a home such as welfare rights, debt, financial inclusion and health and wellbeing.
The Support & Progression service is available to both new and existing YHN and Leazes Homes customers.
The team can be contacted by calling 0191 278 8600.
Financial Inclusion Team
Our Financial Inclusion Team (FIT) offers advice and information to customers who may be struggling to manage their finances and sustain their tenancy, providing help with making and maintaining benefit claims, maximising available income, managing a household budget and signposting to other support services.
Financial Inclusion Teams (FIT) are now co-located in Job Centres in Byker, Cathedral Square and Spire one day a week, offering pre-booked appointments to customers. To make an appointment with a member of the team call 0191 278 8600.
Click here to access our helpful online budgeting tool
Click here to access our handy benefits calculator.
The Employability Team has a range of opportunities to support customers who are looking for work or to develop their skills. YHN offers employment but we also work with lots of other employers and training providers to ensure customers get the help they need to get into work.
If you’re looking for work or would like to further develop your skills, contact the team on 0191 278 8600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
MONEY AND BILLS
Paying your rent
If you’re a YHN customer and struggling to pay your rent, call 0191 278 8600 or email email@example.com. A member of our team can offer advice and support and work out the best course of action to help you.
Income Collection Officers are available to take calls from customers as well as being available to speak to at drop-in sessions at the local Hubs and other locations across the City. Details of where the Hubs are and when they are open can be found here Our offices | Your Homes Newcastle (yhn.org.uk).
If you are struggling to pay your rent because your income is low, and you have less than £16,000 in savings, you may be entitled to Universal Credit, which will include an amount towards your rent.
If you are struggling financially speak to your Universal Credit Work Coach about a referral for specialist Personal Budgeting Support.
They can be contacted by calling 0800 328 5644.
You may want to consider a benefit check to make sure you are receiving all the income you are entitled to. Visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/welfare-benefits/welfare-rights-and-money-advice/c… or www.entitledto.co.uk.
More help – including a budgeting planner tool, benefits calculator and tips on saving energy – is available on our website
Paying your bills
If you are struggling, try to maintain payments for your priority bills of rent, council tax, gas, electricity and water. You may be entitled to a discount or support to pay your council tax. For details visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/ctaxdiscounts.
If you are struggling with paying your water bill, check if you qualify for any discounts with Northumbrian Water at www.nwl.co.uk/services/extra-support/financial-support/, calling 0345 733 5566 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you are unable to pay some or all of your bills, you should not borrow more money. If you take out more credit now, you could end up in a worse situation.
Debt is a big problem, which can have serious consequences, and as a result you should not ignore it. The earlier you get advice for your debt problems, the better. Independent debt advisors are available to speak to and are a good place to start.
Free debt advice is available from places such as Stepchange which offers a debt advice service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can visit their website www.stepchange.org or call 0800 1381 111.
You can also contact Money Matters, Newcastle City Council’s debt and budgeting team, who can provide specialist help and advice. Call them on 0800 170 7008 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm) or email email@example.com.
Gas and electricity prices rose by 54% in April 2022 which caused huge financial stress for many households across the country. To help protect consumers, the Government has announced the Energy Price Guarantee which came into effect on 1 October 2022.
This new scheme will reduce the unit cost of electricity and gas so that a household with typical energy use in Great Britain pays, on average, around £2,500 a year on their energy bill, until April 2023. A one-off £400 fuel discount payment for households will also be given to 30 million households, with individual suppliers determining how their customers are paid. If you’d like to find out if you’re eligible and how you’ll be paid your discount, contact your supplier directly.
Anyone struggling with gas and electricity bills or who is worried about heating their home, should contact their supplier in the first instance. You can also visit our website for information on saving energy and reducing bills. Visit www.yhn.org.uk/service-customers/save-energy.
If you’re worried about your electricity and gas bills, or you are having problems heating your home visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/energyadvice.
If you have solar panels on your property you will benefit from free electricity generated by these - please make sure they're in good working order by letting us know of any issues and allowing us access to survey them when requested. Find out more here.
If you live in a Housing Plus sheltered scheme, utilise the communal areas to help to save on energy or speak confidentially to your Housing Plus Officer who will be able to signpost you to additional support.
Winter Fuel Payments
If you were born on or before 25 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.
You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically (you do not need to claim) if you’re eligible and payments are usually made directly to you from the DWP during November and December. To find out more, visit www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment.
Other Money Saving Tips
Free School Meals
To check if your children are entitled, or to apply for free school meals visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/schools-learning-and-childcare/help-school-and-learning-costs/apply-free-school-meals.
If you are on a low income or have certain medical conditions you may get help with health costs.
Phone the NHS advice line on 0300 330 1343 or visit www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/help-with-health-costs/.
It is cheaper to buy weekly or monthly tickets if you use public transport often. Also, children who live in Tyne and Wear can get an Under 16 Pop card that entitles them to discounted travel.
There is more information at www.nexus.org.uk.
Price Comparison Websites
Smoking can be very expensive but thereis support available to help people quit.
Call Newcastle Stop Smoking Service on 0191 269 1103 or visit www.changegrowlive.org/stop-smoking-plus-service-newcastle/home.
Supporting Independence Scheme
If you have a support worker, they may be able to apply to charities for help or to Newcastle City Council’s Supporting Independence Scheme (SIS) which can provide basic household goods to help to prevent people from becoming homeless. Visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/sis for more details.
Citizens Advice Newcastle
Citizens Advice Newcastle provides free, confidential, independent and impartial advice and can be contacted by phone on 0808 278 7823 or by visiting www.citizensadvice-newcastle.org.uk/contact.
Crisis Support Scheme
This can provide help with food, clothing, fuel for heating and expenses for emergency travel to cover short term periods of crisis or disaster.
Visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/crisissupport for more information.
Food Bank Vouchers
Information on the foodbanks and free emergency food in Newcastle can be found at www.informationnow.org.uk/article/food-banks-in-newcastle.
Most foodbanks do require a referral from an organisation registered with the foodbank such as the Council, a support worker, a charity or a GP surgery.
For information about any other support available, visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/debthelp.