Home essentials in a crisis

We may be able to help you if you are having serious difficulties managing your income due to a crisis or if you are facing exceptional pressures because of an emergency.

We offer our help for a short time only if you have no other means of support.

Except in exceptional circumstances, we can only offer help 3 times in a rolling 12 month period, and we will not help for the same reason more than once.

Wherever possible we want to help you stay in (or move back into) your local community.

Before you apply we'll expect you to have claimed any national benefits, grants and loans which are appropriate to your situation.

Your local district council may also be able to help you if you need help paying rent or rent in advance through a Discretionary Housing Payment.

You must have spoken to a benefits or Job Centre Plus advisor about the following before applying to us for help:

To find other organisations in your area who can help and support you, please visit the Live It Well website.

To make an application, unless in exceptional circumstances, you must:

  • be aged 16 or over
  • live in Kent (if you pay your Council Tax to Medway Council you will need to contact their local welfare provision scheme)
  • live on a low income or receive a means-tested benefit
  • have no access to savings or support from other sources.

Providing evidence

We will ask for evidence of your benefits and savings, and we may also ask for things like:

  • Proof of any reasons you give for needing help (such as unusual expenses).
  • Proof of your earnings if you are working
  • Proof of signed tenancy/new address/moving date if you are asking for furniture items

To ask for our help:

To complete the application you will need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • details of anyone who lives in your house, including their National Insurance number(s)
  • details of your income and that of your partner or other adults living with you (this includes benefits payments and any income from employment).

Once you have applied for help from us, we will contact you with information on agencies that may be able to help you in your situation long-term and enable you to manage your financial crisis. We will then tell you if we are able to provide the items you need, and explain how we will get the goods to you.

If we can't help you, we will explain why and tell you about your right to ask for a review of your situation. We will also let you know where you can go to get more advice or information.

We don't offer money. We can provide essential home items such as:

  • groceries (for up to 7 days)
  • clothing
  • baby food, milk and nappies
  • furniture (beds, seating)
  • crockery
  • bedding/curtains/carpets
  • essential electrical appliances (fridge, cooking appliance, washing machine)

and help with:

  • utilities (gas and electric, for up to 7 days)
  • emergency travel arrangements via public transport (for example to flee a crisis)

Most of the home items we provide will be secondhand.

These are just some of the situations under which we may offer you help. They are just examples and should not be used to decide whether or not you are eligible for our help. If you aren't sure, please contact us.

  • You are under JSA sanction and you have a child under 5 in the house
  • Your ESA has been suspended and you have already made an appeal
  • Your CTC has been stopped due to a change in your circumstances
  • You are waiting for a new benefit claim to come through
  • Your money has been stolen or you have lost it
  • You have spent your money on hospital travel
  • You need to visit a seriously unwell close relative in hospital
  • You need to attend a one off urgent hospital appointment
  • You are fleeing domestic abuse
  • You have left care
  • You have left prison and used your discharge money for travel
  • You are no longer homeless/on the street
  • You are a victim of fire or flooding

If we cannot offer help or you need more help, you can try the following:

Food

You can try your local food banks or the Salvation Army. If you have children under 5, you can also try your local children's centre for both food and clothes.

Clothes and furniture

You can try the Salvation Army, Freecycle, Gumtree, local Facebook selling pages or your local charity shops. If you have a social worker involved with you or your family, they may look into trying ButtleUK with you.

Power and utilities

Speak to your provider first to see if they can offer emergency credit. The British Gas Energy Trust may be able to help, or the Salvation Army.

Hospital travel

Speak to your GP and ask about patient transport. You can also see if you are eligible for the NHS Travel Scheme.