Coronavirus: Support for hardship or difficulties

Support for hardship or difficulties

Our frontline services such as social care, support for our homeless, and waste and recycling collections have developed plans to minimise disruption caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read our Service disruptions and updates page for more information.

New information is emerging every day and we want to keep you as up to date as we can. You can sign up to our two e-newsletters, Important Updates and Emergency Updates, to receive important information on Coronavirus.

As a Council, our priority is to continue to deliver the vital public services our residents depend on, and to safeguard and look after our most vulnerable. We know that you may need extra help at this time and there are a range of services that might be able to help you. 

Children, schools and families

We know that the uncertainty and significant changes taking place currently may affect the emotional wellbeing and mental health of many children and young people in the borough. It is critical that all children, young people and their families are aware of the support available to them and are able to access this over the coming weeks and months.

There is a wide range of support available online, by phone and by text message. In addition to this, our usual face-to-face services are changing the way they work so that they can continue to provide support remotely. Read the Knowing your mental health leaflet for information and contact details of organisations that are available to help.

Access to resources and information that may be useful to families and those working with children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are available on our SEND Local Offer website.

Domestic abuse support

The pandemic brings new challenges for people who are living through domestic abuse, and victims and survivors who are self-isolating may not be able to access support or escape abuse at times when they otherwise would. Self-isolating while living with an abuser may also see an increase of risk of harm. However, support is available.

In an emergency, always dial 999

The following document outlines support available:

Domestic abuse support

 

Food banks and supplies

For those who are able to use them, we want to make sure that our food banks are operating well and that they have food supplies and volunteers to support them. We have a team of Council staff ready to step in and assist the two food banks in the borough.

We are also working with the new Partnership Group to introduce a new food bank in the south of the borough – as we know that there is limited access. To that aim, we are working with external organisations which deliver to a number of food banks across London and we are looking to introduce this shortly.

For the time being, we are directing food donations to Al Manaar in Acklam Road. We have also sent out details through the e-newsletter of the items that are in shortest supply and where and when they be dropped off.  

Hardship payments

If you have been affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and feel you need financial support, you may be entitled to support through the Council’s Hardship Fund. The Council has announced that it will boost this fund by £500,000, on top of funding from central government. See the news page.

This is an existing fund which the Council has had in place for a number of years, but the criteria are being expanded to ensure that we can help more people who have been severely impacted from COVID-19 and need our support to make ends meet. More details will be published here next week on how to access these funds and details of the current scheme are available on our Local support payments webpage.

You can also apply over the telephone on 020 7745 6464 between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. We are seeing an increase in calls, we are dealing with them as quickly as possible.

Helping the homeless

Closure of Kensington Town Hall – Homelessness and Housing Needs Services

Following the latest Government advice, the Council has had to take the difficult decision to close the Town Hall to residents.

We continue to deliver urgent housing needs and homelessness advice and support by telephone and email.

Do not come to the Town Hall even if you think your situation is urgent.

If you think you are about to be made homeless

The Government has announced that no-one can be evicted from their home until further notice, whether you are a private sector tenant, council tenant or housing association tenant.

We strongly urge our residents not to ask family or friends to leave their homes. These are exceptionally difficult times, and we appreciate life is becoming very difficult for many of our residents. However, we will try to offer advice and support in your current homes – it may become far more difficult to do this if residents are made homeless and relocated elsewhere.

  • if you still need advice, email HHAT@rbkc.gov.uk (Homelessness and Advice Team) or call 020 7361 3008 (HousingLine)

If you are experiencing or worried about domestic abuse

Please see our dedicated advice.

If you are living in temporary accommodation and have an urgent repair

If you are living in temporary accommodation and experiencing hardship

For example, you have been advised to self-isolate for a long time or have fallen ill and cannot get food or necessary medicines for yourself.

If you live in another Borough, we expect that you will receive support from the Council where you live, not Kensington and Chelsea Council. We are working hard to confirm this. For now, please contact the Council where you live or visit their website (look for `Coronavirus Hub’) for further information.

Other housing enquiries

If you have any other enquiry, please email us at: housing@rbkc.gov.uk.

If you are currently being supported by the Housing Needs and Homelessness Department, please bear with us. Due to the need to focus on residents in the most urgent need, there may be a delay in responding to non-urgent enquiries. We apologise for this.

Other Homelessness Housing Needs services

Rough sleepers

We are working with the Mayor of London to provide a greatly enhanced offer to rough sleepers, ensuring they have accommodation made available to them.

If you wish to report someone sleeping rough you can email us at: streetoutreach@rbkc.gov.uk. Alternatively you can contact StreetLink by telephone on 0300 500 0914 or via www.streetlink.org.uk

Temporary accommodation repairs

We are working with temporary accommodation letting agents to ensure that urgent repairs can still go ahead. We will work with agents to minimise the health risks to our residents.

Housing Register and mobility

Until further notice, we have suspended all applications to the Housing Register and to options for moving home while we direct resources and our staff to our most urgent priorities.

Paying for your gas and electricity

The government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers to ensure you don’t face any additional hardships in heating or lighting your home during the coronavirus outbreak. If you think you can’t afford to pay for extra gas or electricity used because you’re having to self-isolate at home, support will be available through your energy supplier.

Your supplier must consider how much you can afford and will explain your options. No credit meters will be disconnected during the outbreak. Customers with prepayment meters who are self-isolating or unable to leave their home to top up their meter should contact their supplier straightaway to discuss options. These may include:

  • someone being sent to top up your prepayment card or token/key
  • having funds added to your meter credit
  • having a preloaded gas or electricity card sent to you in the post

Paying your rent

We know that many residents will be struggling financially as a result of the current crisis and worrying about how to make ends meet. We want to assure you that we will not be taking tenancy enforcement action for rent arrears at this time.

If you need help, you can contact:

  • The North Office (The Hub): 020 7605 6341
  • The South (Blantyre) office: 020 8206 7525
  • The Rent Income team: 0800 137 111

Paying your Council Tax

Council Tax bills for 2020/21 were sent out a few weeks ago. We know that since then, the impact of COVID-19 on households in the borough has been and will be significant over the next few months and, financially, for some this is a worrying time. We want to help you.

If as a result of COVID-19, your financial circumstances have changed and you think you will find it difficult to pay your Council Tax over the next few months, please get in touch. The Council has an already well-established Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which provides already provides support to households and we will be using the additional funding announced by the Government to support more individuals who need help with paying their bill during these difficult times.

Further details on how to apply can be found on our Council Tax reduction webpage.

Welfare rights advice

The Government has issued advice on support available for benefit claimants. Jobcentre appointments have been suspended for 3 months, starting from 19 March 2020. Jobcentres remain open and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people. If you do not currently claim, you may be entitled to help through benefits if you need to self-isolate because:

  • You have Coronavirus
  • You have Coronavirus symptoms, for example a high temperature or new continuous cough
  • Someone in your household has Coronavirus symptoms
  • You've been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111
  • You have to stay at home due government advice on Coronavirus.