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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

ADVISER: Vicars Relief Fund helps client establish their tenancy

One of our advisers recently had a very positive outcome for a client who was looking forward to starting her new tenancy but quickly came up against a problem. 

Payment needed to connect gas

Kathy was homeless before entering into a tenancy with a Housing Association.  On moving to her new tenancy, Kathy was told that she would be responsible for paying a £250 connection fee to get the gas connected. With no ability to pay the £250, Kathy would be moving into a property without heating or water.

Kathy made contact with Housing Rights. Our adviser worked on Kathy's behalf to ensure that her new home would have hot water and heating. They first approached the gas provider and the Housing Association to waive the fee in consideration of Kathy’s circumstances, but this was unsuccessful.

The gas provider also refused the offer of a payment schedule that would give Kathy time to raise the money herself, but again they refused and insisted it had to be paid as a lump sum.

Vicars Relief Fund

Our adviser decided to approach the Vicars Relief Fund for help. The Vicars Relief fund provides small crisis grants to support people who are at risk of, or currently experiencing homelessness and to help establish and maintain tenancies.  We were delighted when the application to them was successful and they awarded Kathy a grant. The grant was able to cover the payment to the gas company giving Kathy access to heating and hot water in her new home, and an additional amount to help her with daily living needs. 


Tagged In

Money Matters, Affordability, Adviser

This article was written on 19 May 2020. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.