Changes to "Crisis Support Scheme" May 2016

Changes to the Crisis Support Scheme from 01/05/2016 are as follows :
 
As part of this year’s budget savings members approved changes to the funding of the Council’s Crisis Support Scheme. It was agreed not to allocate an annual budget to Crisis Support, but instead to run the scheme using existing reserves of approximately £600k whilst implementing changes to increase the potential life span of the scheme. One of the changes is the implementation of a loan scheme as a partial replacement for the current grant only scheme. Assuming this works well, loan repayments can be ploughed back into the scheme and re-circulated to other vulnerable residents in urgent need.
 
The Crisis Support Loan Scheme will go live from 01/05/2016.
 
•         Once the loan scheme is live awards for furniture, white goods, removals and storage will be made by way of a loan.
•         There will no longer be a grant alternative for the above items.
•         There will still be a grant option for other items such as food, daily living expenses and rent in advance.
•         As well as the general Crisis Support criteria that still need to be met, applicants will need to demonstrate (through an income/expenses declaration) that they can afford to repay a loan.
•         We will be operating the loan element of the scheme in partnership with Plough and Share Credit Union who will pay and recover loans.
•          Loan amounts will be based on the cost of second hand furniture and white goods and will still be supplied through the usual suppliers-Anode and Refurnish, the same as for the current grant awards. We do not want to get people into more debt than necessary and keeping the loan amounts down will preserve funds.
•         Loans will be interest free and generally have to be repaid within 52 weeks.
•          Successful applicants will need to open a Plough and Share account and have sufficient income paid into the account for loan repayments to be made.
•         Plough and Share will  be actively chasing those who default on repayments and will be applying to the Job Centre under the Eligible Loan deduction scheme for direct deductions from benefit (including Universal Credit) where appropriate.
•         If a customer does not want a Crisis Support Loan or is refused one other options may be: Budgeting Loans from Job Centre (or Universal Credit equivalent scheme) available to those on passported benefits for at least the last 26 weeks, sourcing items themselves through local classified ads in Herald Express, gumtree etc, purchasing direct from local charitable organisations such as MASH, Refurnish and Anode.
•         Applications will still be made as now via the Council’s website.
•         Information about the changes is being circulated to the Voluntary Sector through Torbay Advice Network

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