Hillcrest Homes’ Energy Advice Team (HEAT) gave 1000 struggling Dundee households a welcome boost, providing emergency top ups for their energy meters during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of the 1000 households, only 200 were Hillcrest Homes tenants, with the rest being a mixture of other housing association and private rent tenants, as well as homeowners.
The top ups of £30 each were funded by a Scottish Government Covid-19 support grant, secured jointly by Hillcrest Homes and Abertay Housing Association, with HEAT being tasked with administering the emergency top-ups.
Covid-19 caused a variety of financial struggles for many families, including reduced income due to Furlough, redundancy and spending more time in the house resulting in greatly increased energy bills, the top-ups proved valuable for many.
Referrals for top-ups were received from a range of support organisations including community groups, foodbanks and charities such as Action for Children. The top-up vouchers were generated via Fuel Bank – a partnership between Npower and Trussell Trust, through which HEAT applied for the voucher for each struggling household.
Joy Watson, Hillcrest Homes tenant services manager, said: “The unexpected onset of Covid-19 and the associated lockdown resulted in huge and very sudden financial difficulty for many households.
Families who were previously making ends meet suddenly found themselves with higher energy bills, combined with many households finding their income reduced
“The 1000 emergency top-ups that HEAT administered throughout Dundee were a very welcome and valuable lifeline for households in Dundee during the crisis .”
Hillcrest Housing Association was established in 1967 and is one of Scotland’s largest Housing Associations. They provide housing and support in Dundee, Edinburgh, Angus, Perthshire and Fife, with over 5500 good quality, well maintained homes at affordable rents. In each area of operation there are local offices with housing advice teams who can provide an immediate response to the customers.