The council has announced that the amnesty on evicting tenants in Basildon Council-owned social housing, who are suffering financial hardship directly from the Covid-19 pandemic, will be extended to March 2021.

Chairman of the Housing and Communities Committee, Councillor Kerry Smith, said: "The Government ban on evictions ends on 23 August but we know that our tenants who have suffered real financial hardship due to Covid-19 won't suddenly be able to pay. They will continue to struggle for some time. So, it's only fair that we reassure them, let them know we will support them through this extremely difficult period, and not throw them on the street."

In addition, the council is working closely with its partner Citizens Advice Basildon to let residents know about the new Making Every Penny Count campaign. It includes a digital brochure, packed full of helpful ways to maximise household income, save money and prevent financial problems and offering fuel vouchers and other financial support.

Chairman of the External Affairs, Partnerships and Liaison Committee, Councillor Aidan McGurran, said: "Financial worries are particularly acute for many of our tenants at this time - when they are also concerned about their own health and wellbeing, and that of their families too. Letting them know they will continue to have a roof over their head is the least we can do.

"Working with our partners at Citizens Advice Basildon we will do more. We want to make sure that tenants have access to all the support they are entitled to, and where tenants do experience financial difficulties, we will work together to explore all options to keep things going for them. This includes flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant's individual circumstances."  

The Making Every Penny Count digital brochure is designed specifically to help anyone living in the south of Essex, and a browsable version and downloadable version are available.

Under the Energy Redress Fuel Voucher Scheme, fuel vouchers are also available for residents who are vulnerable and struggling financially with pre-payment meters. Single households can get £28, and families £49, with a maximum of three vouchers per household. Referrals can be made by email: moneyadvice@citizensadvicesouthessex.org.uk

Residents concerned about their finances can also contact a full range of services:

  • Citizens Advice Basildon's full Service, including benefit specialist service, is available on Adviceline - 0300 330 2101. They are open 9-5pm Monday to Friday, and Saturdays 9am to 12noon. Information is available on www.citizensadvice.org.uk
  • Money Advice Helpline—01277 358082—is a local number, open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday with a voicemail facility. Alternatively email moneyadvice@citzensadvicesouthessex.org.uk
  • Billericay Adviceline—01277 358080—is a Rotary funded project to help Billericay residents with any issues.
  • Help to Claim—0800 144 8444—is a DWP funded project to help residents apply for Universal Credit.

ENDS

Published on Friday 31 July 2020