New report outlines impact of Winter Hardship Fund
The impact of funding received from the Winter Hardship Fund has been outlined in a new report from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).
The £2.4 million Scottish Government fund awarded £1m to the SFHA to ensure social landlords could respond to the extreme challenges their tenants were facing.
SFHA was able to award funds to 53 projects across the whole of Scotland, enabling housing associations to provide direct cash payments, vouchers, food provision and welfare rights advice to their tenants.
SFHA members put forward a range of applications to the Fund, designed to suit the specific needs of their tenants and communities. Through this, the fund was able to reach a staggering number of people, providing:
- 13,000 Supermarket Vouchers to tenants
- Direct financial support to over 2000 tenants
- A combination of cash and vouchers to 2600 tenants
- Over 1500 tenants supported with direct access to meals/ food provision
- Over 2000 tenants supported with Pantry membership/ community fridges access
- Over 3000 tenants supported with direct advice
Summing up the importance of the fund, the report states: “There’s no denying that life is hard for many right now, particularly for those who were already struggling or ‘just about managing’ before the cost-of-living crisis. Social housing tenants have been hit hard, already on low incomes and now often not able to provide the basics for themselves and their families.
“The fund has provided a lifeline during the toughest winter many will have been through for some time. However, hard pressed families and individuals shouldn’t have to face the anxiety and uncertainty of knowing whether this lifeline will be there in future. As one tenant put it, life is hard now. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things will be much easier any time soon.
“The funding has shown once again that our members, alongside their communities, will always come together to support tenants when they’re needed. Housing associations are well positioned to support people through being embedded in the communities they serve, building trust and relationships over time and offering holistic services to their tenants. They are a crucial tool in tackling poverty and inequality, but they can’t do it alone.”