Household Support Fund (HSF)
The Household Support Fund (HSF) was put in place by the government to help households that would otherwise struggle to buy food, pay essential utility bills, or meet other essential living costs during the current cost-of-living challenges.
£842 million has been made available to county councils and unitary authorities in England, via the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP), for this purpose. The funding is aimed particularly at those who may not be eligible for the other forms of government support.
HSF differs to the GOV.UK: Guidance - Cost of Living Payments 2023 to 2024 paid directly to those that are eligible for certain benefits from the DWP and the GOV.UK: Winter Fuel Payment. Most people get the Winter Fuel Payment automatically if they were born before 25 September 1957 - see GOV.UK: Winter Fuel Payment for full eligibility criteria.
HSF round four
Wiltshire Council has been allocated £5.4 million in round four of the HSF. The funding will be distributed through partner organisation and council departments, and will run from April 2023 to 31 March 2024.
For details on the previous three rounds of the HSF, look for 'Household Support Fund (HSF)' on our: Freedom of Information frequently asked questions.
Eligibility for the HSF
Local Authorities have the flexibility to identify which households are in most need of support and apply their own discretion when identifying eligibility. The expectation is that The Fund should be used to support households in the most need; particularly those who may not be eligible for the other support government has recently made available but who are nevertheless in need and who require crisis support.
The fund is intended to cover a wide range of low-income households in need including:
- families with children of all ages
- unpaid carers
- care leavers
- households with a disability
- Gypsy, Roma, Traveller and Boater communities
- as part of the Armed Forces Covenant, we will also ensure there is support for those who are serving, have served and their families where need has been identified
You do not have to be receiving benefits to be eligible for support from the HSF.
How HSF funds can be used
The HSF funds can be used to support households with:
- energy bills for any form of fuel that is used for the purpose of domestic heating, cooking, or lighting, including oil or portable gas cylinders
- water bills including for drinking, washing, cooking, as well as for sanitary purposes and sewerage
- the cost of food
- essential costs related to energy, food and water such as warm clothing, blankets, the purchase of equipment such as fridges, freezers, ovens, slow cookers
- housing costs where existing housing support schemes do not meet this need.
- support with other bills including broadband or phone bills
- essential transport-related costs such as repairing a car, buying a bicycle, or paying for fuel
The fund may also be used to provide supplementary advice services to people, including debt and benefit advice, where considered appropriate.
How HSF funds are distributed
Following the announcement of the Household Support Fund 4, Wiltshire Council reviewed allocations of previous funding and changes to government guidance to enable learning to be fed into this year's distribution of funding.
An open and transparent governance process has been set up to oversee the allocation of the funding to ensure that it meets the grant requirements.
The Funding will be distributed both proactively and reactively through council departments and third sector organisations where there is an identified need.
How payments will be made
Households who are eligible for support may be offered a one off payment either by cheque, PayPoint or Post Office Cash Out voucher, PayPoint or Post Office Prepaid Legacy Meter vouchers or retail voucher from any of the schemes being run by the council or the third sector organisations.
We are using software called Evouchers from a company called Wonde Limited to distribute vouchers.
For the purpose of delivering your voucher we need to share your name, email and mobile number with them. This will be undertaken securely, and your data will not be used or shared for any other purpose.
We will ask for your consent to do this before we process your voucher either directly or via our partner organisations, such as Julian House or CSE.
To read Evouchers Privacy Notice visit https://www.evouchers.com/privacy/.
Vouchers may be in the form of a printed voucher, letter or electronic voucher (Evoucher).
If you receive a letter, an email from 'evouchers.com' or text from 'Vouchers' this is valid, it is not spam.
Please follow the actions from the letter, email or text to claim your voucher.
For electronic vouchers you may be asked to choose one retailer from a selected list, or the voucher may be restricted to just one retailer already.
Vouchers can be used over multiple shopping trips until the total value has been spent.
For more information about being a recipient of an Evoucher you may like to read this helpful guide Evouchers: I'm a recipient.
If you have any queries regarding a voucher please contact email@example.com.
What schemes the HSF supports
A wide range of schemes are being supported and delivered by council departments and the voluntary sector. Additional schemes may be added throughout the delivery period.
Wiltshire Council departments delivering the HSF
Third sector organisations delivering the HSF
Find support if you've not been contacted already
In most cases households have already been identified and will be approached directly with support or asked to apply. However, there are various ways people can seek support.
Over the coming months, projects will be set up across Wiltshire communities and promoted to those eligible and most in need. Website links will be continuously updated as projects and access routes into funding become available - some of which may be delivered over the autumn or winter months.
Wiltshire Council Local Welfare Provision Scheme
The Wiltshire Council Local Welfare Provision Scheme helps people in immediate need. To find out if you are eligible visit our Help in a crisis page.
Local Welfare Provision
Applications can be made by downloading the form available on Local Welfare Provision - Crisis or household support fund (adults.wiltshire.gov.uk), under 'How to apply', or calling 0300 456 0110 9am to 12 noon Monday to Friday only.
Community food banks and providers
The local food banks and Community Food Providers supported by the fund can be approached directly by residents regarding how to participate. To find community food providers visit our Interactive Community Directory.
Tenants from the following Housing Associations /societies may also be eligible under the following HSF4 schemes. Applicants should go through each associations existing process for support, whether this is via case workers or contacting them directly.
Third sector organisations
Residents can also apply via one of the third sector organisations. Any referrals will be supported through their established application, assessment and monitoring processes.
Other types of support and advice
How the HSF has been distributed in previous rounds (1 to 3)
For details of the final reports, submitted to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), for the previous three rounds of the HSF, look for 'Household Support Fund (HSF)' on our: Freedom of Information frequently asked questions page.