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Forking out on presents, cards, decorations, food and more – there’s no doubt about it, Christmas can be expensive for most of us. But keeping focussed on the most important expenses and managing your money well can save you from plenty of money stress.
We’ve got three top tips to help you plan smart and make sure you leave 2021 with happy memories rather than troublesome rent arrears.
If you can, try to pay a little extra rent during the year and build your rent account up. Then when Christmas comes you can have a rent-free month to focus your finances on the fun stuff!
2. Communication is key
It’s important to get in touch with us if you think you might be under financial pressure. If you’re already worried about being able to pay your rent, please call our Income Management team on 0300 123 2640.
3. Let’s be friends!
Don’t feel nervous or afraid to reach out to us and keep us in the loop. You can feel comfortable that you can speak to us about any difficulties in your situation, and our specialist teams will work with you to address these quickly and confidentially.
If you do find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to get in touch as soon as possible on 0300 123 2640. From putting a few extra pounds in your pocket by reducing energy bills to checking for benefits you may be eligible for, or even just helping you with a rent payment plan we’ve got people who can help.
Here’s an example of how we were able to help:
Sue had large rent arrears and had been burying her head in the sand, and didn’t answer when Hillcrest staff tried to contact her to help.
Diane from the Income Management team was concerned that Sue might have been struggling with something, and she was keen to keep trying to contact her to offer help.
Diane’s persistence paid off and she finally managed to reach Sue for a chat. Sue revealed that she’d been off work sick for over seven months and was struggling to get her benefits sorted out. She had very little money coming in and was finding it difficult to pay for electricity and food, which was further affecting her mental and physical wellbeing. She felt hopeless and couldn’t see how her situation could improve.
Diane put Sue in touch with our Tenancy Sustainment Service, and also made a referral to Hillcrest Energy Advice Team.
Sue spoke with Euan from HEAT, who was able to add credit to her meter and gave her advice on how to save money by using her heating system in the most efficient way.
Sue then met with Alison from TSS virtually. Immediately, Alison wanted to make sure that Sue had food, so she arranged a food parcel from the local foodbank.
Alison’s next step was to untangle what had been going on with her benefits while she had been off work sick.
It turned out that her Universal Credit payments had been reduced because deductions were being taken due to an earlier overpayment. While this was correct, it didn’t leave her with enough money to live on, and caused her rent arrears to rise very quickly to an unmanageable amount.
Alison was able to negotiate with Universal Credit to reduce the deductions to free up more money for Sue to pay her rent, but she was still left with large outstanding rent arrears.
Alison then applied for a Discretionary Housing Payment through the local council, and after some further discussions, Sue was awarded £4,143 which cleared her rent arrears.
Sue was delighted with the help that was available from our specialist teams and wished she had been in touch sooner.
Sue said, “I can’t thank you guys enough. I was on a massive downward spiral but now a huge weight has been lifted. I can now see a future where I can return to work.”