SUPPORT and advice is on hand for Carmarthenshire residents that are struggling with their finances.
During the last 18 months, and in the midst of the cost of living crisis, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Hwb Advisors have supported and offered advice to many residents.
Based at the community Hwbs in Ammanford, Llanelli and Carmarthen, our HWB Advisors have been on hand to provide face to face specialist support and advice to help with the cost of living and other matters. The Hwb Advisers are available from Monday to Friday every week, along with housing officers and employability advisers, to provide tailored packages of support to residents. Visitors to the Hwbs can also access information on the services available to support them as the cost-of-living increases. For further help, support and information, please visit the Council’s Cost of Living Advice page.
Read the stories of Mrs. H, Mr. P and Mr. G who sought help and advice from our Hwb Advisors:
After receiving a summons for her council tax, Mrs H was called into the Hwb to meet with the Hwb Advisor who recognised that she was facing financial difficulties. She was then offered support to work through her circumstances with the help of the Hwb Advisor.
Mrs H was a single parent of 3 and a homeowner, relying on the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and other benefits as her income. The Hwb Advisor then helped Mrs H to apply for a council tax reduction, Universal Credit and Free School Meals alongside other support schemes to help her and her family. With the Advisor’s help, she was successful in her applications and noted that she was now £800 a month better off following the support she received.
After being in tenancy for 6 months, Mr P was issued with a Notice for non-payment of rent. The letting agent then contacted the Pre-Accommodation team to see if there was help available. At that time, Mr P was experiencing a very stressful time with the move to Universal Credit and in high rent arrears.
Action was then taken to support Mr P in many areas such as making a Universal Credit claim, as he was previously a recipient of ESA, and a Discretionary Housing Payment claim. He was successful in his applications allowing him to clear £3750 in rent arrears, meaning he was no longer at threat of homelessness. A direct debit was set up with Mr P to pay rent shortfall and through these actions he is now able to pay his own rent through direct debit.
Mr G was a 72-year-old gentleman whose wife recently passed away. His wife was a recipient of a Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and a Pension Credit which stopped when she passed away.
As he now lives alone, Mr G was supported in his application for a reduction in his council tax under the single person occupancy discount and housing benefit which were both granted under his current income. Alongside this, Mr G was referred to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) which helped him by issuing an energy voucher and assisting his application for PIP and Pension Credit which are currently still being considered.
Cllr. Linda Davies Evans, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Tackling Poverty said:
“Our Hwb Advisors perform a valuable and professional service and I would urge anybody that is worried about their finances and finding it difficult to make ends meet to contact our Hwb Advisors to see what advice and help is available to them.”
For more information on the support offered by the community Hwbs and to get help from an advisor, visit the ‘Claim what’s yours’ page on the Carmarthenshire County Council website.
The Council’s Cabinet has recently approved its Tackling Poverty Plan, which provides a focused response on the Authority’s activity over the next 12-months and is very much focused on support with the pressing cost of living crisis. It also identifies key areas of development that will enable the Council to refine our longer-term plan to address the broader causes of poverty.
During the next 12-months, the Welsh Government will be publishing its national Child Poverty Strategy and once that is published, the Council will review its approach and further develop the medium to long-term tackling poverty plan.