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Council launches new advice service to help our most vulnerable residents

RH 4

The Residents' Hub based at Mulberry Place

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to push vulnerable residents to make impossible choices between heating their homes, buying groceries or purchasing a travelcard to get to work, many are teetering on the brink of despair not knowing where to turn for advice.

In response to this, Tower Hamlets Council has launched a series of pilot Residents’ Hubs at Idea Store Whitechapel and Mulberry Place.

A permanent hub will be based at the new Town Hall in Whitechapel after the pilot scheme finishes later this year.

The hubs are a new way to access help and support for our most vulnerable residents - to help them navigate their way through issues they may be facing. 

According to Citizens Advice, a staggering 3.2 million households are facing financial crises as they are unable to afford basic essentials including rent, heating and food.

The most common issues faced in the borough, continues to be in relation to benefits and Universal Credit, debt, housing and employment.

The council, working in partnership with our voluntary and community services, will offer a holistic approach - providing information on social welfare, finance, employment, immigration rights, wellbeing and housing to residents.

Organisations which have signed up to work with the hub include; Citizens Advice, Limehouse Project, Tower Hamlets Homes and Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Services. We are in discussion with other partners who we will be bringing onboard soon.

 Mayor Lutfur Rahman said:

“Many residents are on the brink of despair as the cost-of-living crisis deepens and we need to step in to help the most vulnerable in our community.

Many people just don’t know where to access help and if they do manage to get through to someone they are just signposted to another service.

The concept of the hub is to deal with complex issues with one single point of contact to access a range of services. We will work with partners to make sure residents get the right help at the earliest point.

Through the pilot hubs we hope to learn and refine the service further for when it transitions to the new Town Hall later this year.”

Case study

An elderly couple struggling to pay their bills and rent had been affected by further deductions to their Universal Credit. The couple lived with their son who suffered from long-term health problems which affected his ability to work.

They went to the Residents’ Hub for advice. The advisor told the couple they had been assessed incorrectly and submitted an appeal on their behalf which was accepted.

The couple were also eligible for further benefits including council tax reduction, claim PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and able to get a reduction on their water bill due to their low income.

 

Posted on Monday 6th June 2022