After allocating over £1.7 million to support households across the Borough, Sefton Council has today closed the Open Access Household Support Fund scheme to new applications.
The Council has received and dealt with almost 11,250 HSF applications since the scheme opened in April 2023.
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet member for Housing and Communities said:
“We have paid out over £1.7 million to local households on low incomes to help them pay for essentials such as energy, food, and household bills.
“With only around £73,000 left and with approaching 300 more applications already received and awaiting a decision, we have had to take the decision to close the scheme to new requests.”
People in Sefton struggling in the face of the national cost-of-living crisis are being advised to visit www.sefton.gov.uk/cost-of-living where they can find a wide range of support and advice including information on help with rent and Council Tax, foodbanks and food pantries and financial advice. For people who do not have easy access to the Internet and smart phones to find information online there is also guidance about getting online including the free computer, Internet and Wi-Fi access provided at local Sefton libraries.
Cllr Hardy continued:
“It is a disgrace that so many people across the country, many of them working, are on such low incomes that they need to apply for help through schemes like the Household Support Fund.
“However, I am glad that by the time it runs out we will have been able to use it to support around 11,500 Sefton households."
Just last month, Cllr Hardy warned that uncertainty whether the Government will extend the Household Support Fund beyond April 2024, means that vital schemes helping local people to get through the national cost-of-living crisis such as Sefton’s network of Warm and Welcome Spaces, school holiday food vouchers and winter and summer clothing schemes could disappear.
At the time, Cllr Hardy urged the Government to think again before withdrawing what she described as, “vital funding that is providing these lifelines for people across Sefton and the country.”