Clydesdale Housing Association tenants receive £170 fuel vouchers
Clydesdale Housing Association’s (CHA) work to support its tenants has resulted in over £342,000-worth of financial help being provided to help ease cost of living increases.
In May 2021, CHA was awarded £170 of heating vouchers for each of its 742 tenants via the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund. The fund recognises the additional burden the coronavirus pandemic is having on many households, who may struggle to pay their fuel bills due to loss of income, increased fuel use, and other challenges brought about by the past year.
So far, 619 of CHA’s tenants have taken up the offer of the £170-worth of energy vouchers. In addition to this, CHA’s tenants have received additional help totalling a value of over £237,000. With the heating vouchers and this additional help combined, an average of £552 of help has been allocated to each tenant.
Joe Gorman, CHA chief executive, said: “Attracting this additional help for tenants would not have been possible without the partnership CHA formed with the Home Energy Advice Team (HEAT Team) which is part of the Wise Group.
“As well as energy advocacy support, the HEAT Team provided additional support to help reduce tenants’ energy costs, improve their energy efficiency and provide hints and tips on how best to use their home energy. As well as awarding the energy vouchers on CHA’s behalf, they also looked into additional funding and discounts available, such as the Warm Home Discount. They also offered expert support to tenants facing repayment of outstanding energy debt.”
Support provided by the HEAT Team managed to access funding that helped to reduce tenants’ energy debt – in some cases, by as much as £1,100. 549 tenants managed to access an additional £140 through the Warm Home Discount and an addition 262 tenants received £49 through the MEGA Fund Voucher Scheme.
CHA’s chair, Maggie Botham, added: “The Association has received excellent feedback from tenants on the help and support our staff and the HEAT Team have been able to provide so far. We have managed to secure a second phase of funding that means we can repeat this project over 2022. If you are one of the 123 tenants who did not participate in this project last year, we strongly encourage you to take part this year - staff will get in contact with you over the coming months to make sure you receive the £170 energy voucher you are entitled to.”
Despite all the challenges presented by the Covid pandemic, CHA has also made good progress in improving the energy efficiency of tenants’ homes. Over £1 million has been invested over 2021/2022 in replacing aging heating systems with more energy efficient systems and upgrading insulation standards. Although energy prices are expected to increase again in October 2022, these measures should provide some protection to tenants.
CHA also completed an investment contract in March 2022 that ensured that all of its properties complied with the new Scottish fire safety standards. With the lifting of pandemic restrictions, CHA has been able to re-open the CHA Community Hub. The Hub provides high quality meeting facilities for local community groups and free high-speed Wi-fi for local people.
Maggie Botham, chair, concluded: “We look forward to increasing community activities in the CHA Hub and are excited at the future prospect of working with these groups to enhance the wellbeing of local people.”