Help in a crisis

How to apply to the crisis fund

If you are in crisis as a result of a disaster or emergency situation we may be able to help you. We have a small fund to help those who are in crisis. We do not offer cash payments, instead we may:
  • provide food bank vouchers or sometimes issue food parcels directly
  • provide vouchers for essential quality recycled furniture, furnishings and white goods which are needed to prevent serious risk to your health or safety, or that of your family’s health or safety
  • contribute to your rent in advance, advance board and lodging charges or hostel charges

The fund is only small so we need to prioritise those with the greatest need. If you are in financial crisis but you are working, you may be referred to the Surrey Save Credit Union to apply for a loan.

If you are in financial crisis but have made a claim for benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions then you need to contact them to claim a short term benefit advance or budgeting loan.

Who can apply?

To apply for help from the Crisis Fund you should:
  • live in Kingston upon Thames and have lived here for at least the last six weeks
  • have been housed outside of Kingston upon Thames by us, within the last six months, or
  • if you are leaving prison and will be living in Kingston upon Thames
You should also:
  • be aged 16 or over
  • have not received crisis support within the last 12 months
  • be in crisis as a result of an emergency or disaster (a disaster is a major fire, flood or explosion but not a small fire in one room or a leak from a washing machine)
  • receive one of the following benefits: Income Support, Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (income-related), Pension Credit or Universal Credit (you may also be eligible if you are about to leave an institution or care home within six weeks and be likely to get one of these benefits

If you are not in receipt of one of these benefits then you should seek financial assistance from the Department for Work and Pensions.  

If you do not qualify for a welfare benefit and you are in crisis you should claim for a crisis fund payment and confirm the reasons why welfare benefits are not in payment.

We have access to the Department for Work and Pensions records and we will check the status of any claims you have made with them as part of the Crisis Fund claim process.

Then you must also:
  • not have enough money to meet the immediate needs of yourself or your family (if you have one) due to the emergency or disaster, and
  • have no other way to prevent serious damage or serious risk to the health, or safety of yourself or a member of your family
or
  • not have enough money to pay rent in advance, advance board and lodging charges or hostel charges due to the emergency or disaster
  • and have no other way to prevent serious damage or serious risk to the health, or safety of yourself or a member of your family
or
  • not have enough money to meet the immediate needs of your family for items other than day to day living expenses due to the emergency or disaster  
and you must:
  • not have savings that could be used to meet your needs
  • not be able to resolve the situation through physical support from family and friends
  • not have enough money or resources to prevent serious hardship to yourself or your family - a hardship that could affect your household’s health or safety
  • not be subject to immigration control
If you are waiting for a decision to be made on your application for welfare benefit, or applying because you need to care for a prisoner or young offender on release on temporary licence, you must also have applied to the Department for Work and Pensions for:
  • the short term benefit advance, or
  • a budgeting loan to alleviate your financial crisis
       (You will need to provide evidence to show that you have done this.)

You must also be willing to take personal responsibility to improve your situation. This could mean:
  • setting up a savings scheme with the Surrey Save Credit Union
  • meeting with Surrey Save Credit Union to consolidate your debts
  • undertaking a budget training course provided free by the Council and its partners to help you budget your income and outgoings

You will need to tell us about your income and expenditure. If you have money to spend on non essential items you are unlikely to qualify for the crisis fund. Instead we will refer you to agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or National Debtline, for help.

Finally, you must not need crisis support for:
  • education or training needs including clothing, meals and travel
  • expenses in connection with court
  • removal or storage charges if you are being rehoused following a compulsory purchase order, a redevelopment or closing order, a compulsory exchange of tenancies, or under homelessness legislation
  • domestic assistance and respite care
  • any repair to council property, Housing Association, Registered Social Landlord or privately rented accommodation
  • housing costs, other than minor repairs and improvements (for property which is not rented)
  • a medical, surgical, optical, aural or dental item or service (as this is covered by the NHS)
  • debts to government departments
  • investments
  • costs of purchasing, renting or installing a telephone and of any call charges
  • holidays
  • non essential electrical goods, eg a television
  • any expense that the local authority has a statutory duty to meet
  • costs of fuel consumption and any associated standing charges
  • council tax, council water charges, arrears of community charge, collective community charge contributions or community water charges
  • daily living expenses, such as food and groceries, except in emergency/ disaster situations
  • utility costs, ie gas and electricity

How to apply

If you meet these conditions and you are willing to work with us and partner organisations to help improve your situation you may apply to the crisis fund. 

To apply, please download a copy of the application form, print the form and complete by hand: apply to the crisis fund

Sharing your information

In your application you need to tell us if you are known to any Council services such as a social worker. We will discuss your application with the appropriate statutory safeguarding services.

We will consider your application and make a joint decision with the appropriate services depending on your personal circumstances.

Making a decision

As long as all necessary information is available:

  • applications received before 2pm (on a normal working day Monday to Friday) will be decided within four hours
  • applications received after 2pm but before 5pm (on a normal working day Monday to Friday) will be decided by 2pm the next working day
  • applications received at all other times will be decided by 2pm the next working day

Each decision will be reviewed by a senior officer. The decision will be final.