Camden's £480k welfare scheme to help residents facing destitution

Camden Council’s Cabinet have agreed to an investment of £480,000 over the next two years to retain a welfare scheme that supports its most vulnerable residents.

Camden’s Local Welfare Assistance Scheme has provided vital help to nearly 4,000 people affected by poverty and destitution, homelessness, or health, wellbeing and bereavement issues since its launch in 2013.

The scheme will provide grants to vulnerable residents to pay for key household furniture and equipment as they enter new tenancies in either council or private sector housing, alongside one off emergency payments for those households facing extreme poverty.

Councillor Richard Olszewski, Cabinet Member for Finance and Transformation at Camden Council, said: “This scheme sends out a strong message to our residents - we won’t leave you behind when times get tough. The Government abolished the Social Fund in 2013 and then pulled partial funding of equivalent schemes run by local authorities. We have some stark spending choices to make, but don’t want to follow suit, as the individuals we’re helping have nothing without us.

“By providing a grant to a family moving out of a hostel to give them basic furnishings in their new flat, or the expenses for an individual to attend a family member’s funeral, we’re providing compassion and support at critical, life-changing moments to boost our residents’ independence, mental and emotional health and get them back on their feet sooner.”

The ‘cost’ of tenancy failure in Camden is estimated to be in excess of £10,000 for council tenancies including the average cost of void work and loss of rental income. This means an investment of a few hundred pounds to turn an empty shell into a home can be money well spent if it is part of a wider package of tenancy support.

Beneficiaries of the scheme will already be receiving support from the council or its partners. This means decisions will be made by those working closely with individuals and families and therefore best placed to make decisions on what is needed. Camden Council is also bringing the administration of the scheme in-house, cutting out the previous administration costs incurred through using a third party to help facilitate the scheme.

Emergency payments provide a small fund for vulnerable people facing a crisis that has left them with nothing to enable them to feed themselves and their family whilst they seek help. By working with advice agencies in Camden, the scheme will ensure people get the help they need to address the underlying cause of the crisis and build a more sustainable future.

You can read more about the scheme on our website.