The Coronavirus Hardship fund

The Coronavirus Hardship Fund: Support for living costs

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government have allocated funds to local councils in the form of a Hardship grant to support residents financially impacted by the Coronavirus.

Harrow’s Hardship Fund provides emergency financial support where alternatives are not available to an individual or household.

Examples of hardship include:

  • Experiencing immediate need for funds for emergency items such as food
  • Applicant and partner have no or insufficient income to cover financial need
  • There are no alternative ways of accessing support
  • Do not have savings to finance need
  • No other member of household is able to assist in part or whole

Who can apply for the Hardship fund?

  • People who are experiencing exceptional financial hardship as a result of the Coronavirus.
  • People living in a household in Harrow and who are liable for council tax or are the partner of the liable person.
    • Other adults in the household cannot make an application.
    • People who are liable for council tax but are exempt or receive full council tax support so do not have to make payments can apply.
  • People living in shared accommodation or HMO’s (Homes in Multiple Occupation) where the landlord pays the council tax.
  • People requiring assistance with:
    • Food
    • Energy fuel – electricity, gas key meters
    • Prescriptions/medicine - if you are unable to afford to pay for them and are not exempt from charges
    • Cash/cash equivalent to purchase food/key meter forenergy fuel, prescriptions/medicine.
  • Applications from vulnerable residents with no recourse to public funds will be considered. This will be at the discretion of the council. The council will assess such applications on a case by case basis. Support will only be provided to applicants who are at risk of destitution.
  • In most situations only one application per household will be considered for each month. The application will be on behalf of all household members.

The exception to this will be where it is not believed that an award to a previous applicant in the household has been shared with other household members, for example cases of suspected domestic abuse, including controlling behaviours.

In these extreme cases a second application will be accepted from the same household in the same month.

This scheme will be combined with the council’s existing Hardship Emergency Relief Scheme but funding will remain split between those impacted by the Coronavirus and those experiencing financial hardship due to factors unrelated to the Coronavirus.

Assistance for rent or mortgage payments will not be available from the scheme.

How can I apply for the Hardship fund?

In line with social distancing guidance the application process will only permit face to face contact in very exceptional circumstances.

Applications can be made online but if you are unable to submit an online application you can call us on 0208 901 2698.

Residency check will be carried out against Housing Benefit/Council Tax records where viable.

Before you apply

We are seeing a very high demand for help from the Coronavirus Hardship Fund and want to make sure we can deal with the cases that need our help the most.

To help us to do this please only submit an application:

  • If you have no money to be able to buy food or urgent essential items today or if you expect to run out of food and money within the next week.
  • If you do not have money or savings in the bank that you could use to pay for essential items.  If you have £1,000 or more in the bank you are unlikely to receive an award.
  • If you could qualify for Universal Credit then you should apply for Universal Credit and ask if you can receive an advance payment before you apply for a hardship award.

For more information please visit GOV.UK.

Apply for the Hardship Fund Scheme

Icon information white

What you will need to apply:

  • Evidence of hardship, for example a letter from your employer advising to take unpaid leave and bank statements to demonstrate that your salary has stopped being paid.
  • Evidence of capital such as electronic bank statements

Where evidence is not available the decision maker will use discretion to disregard certain requirements.

You will be able to upload documents in the application form.