One housing provider’ scheme aimed at helping people in fuel poverty and facing financial difficulties has saved its tenants almost half a million pounds in debt in just over a year.
Liverpool Mutual Homes has partnered with Local Solutions, a social enterprise organisation, to promote a fuel debt, energy efficiency and money advice service to support residents.
Tenants have saved a combined total of £454,356 in 13 months with the majority coming from officers helping residents apply for grants, reports 24dash.
In the first twelve months over 780 people were helped by two fuel debt and money advice officers who were appointed to work as part of LMH’s income team to visit tenants in their homes.
The British Gas Trust Fund and the Unite Utilities Trust saw a £175,595 return with an average save of £914 per tenant based on 192 applications. The projected figures from recent grant applications show a further £185,000 of fuel debt will be wiped from accounts.
Further savings were made from helping 320 tenants apply to the government’s warm home discount, which gives them a £135 rebate on their winter fuel bill which totals £43,840. Energy efficiency advice returned a saving of £43,421, of which £2,492 came from simply switching suppliers.
As well as this tenants were also directed to assisted payment schemes for white goods, carpets, flooring and furniture, which avoids the need to use companies that have high interest rates. This has generates savings of over £6,500 to date.
Angela Forshaw, LMS’s director of housing and customer services, said: “The main aim of the service is to change people’s attitudes towards fuel usage, money, budgeting and managing bills. We are making good progress and now people are seeing significant savings and extra money in their pockets, we hope more will come forward and seek help especially in the New Year after the expense of Christmas. We can make a few simple changes for tenants which will make a big difference financially and it’s not just about switching energy tariffs – this is just one aspect that we look at.”
The chair of Macbeth Residents’ Committee, Kate Keany, said: “The scheme has made a huge difference to residents, helping them save money in very easy ways. The advisors simplify financial matters and their expertise means they can assess bills and general outgoings quickly so people start seeing the difference straight away. The energy use tips they provide have been very popular – little pieces of advice that make a big difference to people, especially when money is tight.”
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