We stand with Ukraine ...and with our tenants
The events in Ukraine are heartbreaking for all of us to watch. We may be asked to help with housing for refugees in the coming weeks and months, but in the short term, we have made sure that we are not using any Russian made products, either within ELHA, or through our maintenance company, R3. We have checked with all our suppliers and made sure we will not receive any going forwards.
We are waiting for more details about the Homes for Ukraine scheme to be released and we will do our best to support any tenants who want to take in refugees through this scheme. Our main concern will simply be to ensure none of our homes are overcrowded because of this. If you are considering applying to this scheme, please let us know, so we can discuss any tenancy related issues with you.
We recognise too that fuel and energy costs, which were already rising, are going to rise further, as well as the cost of lots of other day to day necessities. We are joining with others in our sector to make the case for increases to welfare benefits to help those on the lowest incomes who will be affected most by these rising prices. But whilst governments take decisions about how to react, our Money and Home Energy Advice service is here to help today. Between 1 April and 31 December 2021, this service has helped tenants gain £117,710 in benefits, grants, home energy awards and more, and the gains for tenants over the last five years stands at just under £2 million. Currently, we are supporting tenants to access various funds to help them with fuel bills and rent arrears that have accrued due to Coronavirus, and this month alone we have secured approximately £15,000 for our tenants.
We are working hard to keep rents low. Our increase this year is 2% below inflation. More importantly, we remain unique in the UK in offering monthly Rent Discounts of up to £25 a month, £300 a year, through our Key Tenant Scheme – discounts that anyone receiving Universal Credit or Housing Benefit can also keep. If you are not already claiming your Rent Discounts, this is a quick and simple way to reduce your household bills. Our Help Me! service is available if you need any help with claiming your Rent Discounts – just contact us and let us know what help you need or look for more information at elha.com.
We know the next few months are going to be difficult. We will do what we can to help Ukraine, and our staff have already made donations to help support the relief efforts. But we also know we have a job to do closer to home as well, one that we can have more direct influence over. Please talk to us if you are having financial problems, we can help in all sorts of different ways, and our services are completely confidential. We just want to help, in any way we can.