Help with Bills and One-Off Costs

We have a welfare fund for which you may be eligible. For more information, please see the Welfare Fund page.

Budgeting Loans and Budgeting Advances

You can apply for an interest free loan from the Department for Work and Pensions to assist you in times of crisis.

These loans are used for essentials such as furniture, clothing, removal expenses, white goods or expenses to help you start or prepare for work.

You can apply for a budgeting loan if you are currently getting any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit

You must have been in receipt of one of these benefits for the past six months

You will normally have to pay off the loan out of your benefits over 2 years and deductions will be taken automatically at source.

You can apply for a loan if you are a Universal Credit Claimant. You will have to have been claiming for a six month period (part of this can include the benefits listed above that you received prior to a move to UC). There are income limits if you are working and claiming UC and you will have to show that you can afford to repay. You will usually have to repay the loan within 12 months.

To apply; ask for a form from your local Jobcentre Plus work coach or visit For any further information, please contact your welfare officer on 0300 304 5000 or by email:


Essential Living Fund

The Essential Living Fund is a fund run by Essex County Council and administered for Essex by Southend Borough Council. It is there to assist people on benefits or who have a low income and who live in the Essex area. Please note that to qualify for the fund your circumstances must be extreme and will depend upon whether you fulfil certain criteria.

The fund can be used for general living expenses, white goods, furniture, clothing and household equipment.

To apply for help for general expenses please call 0300 7900124 or for goods go to your local authority for advice about how to claim online or to collect an application form. You can check your postcode for your local authority here.

Food Vouchers

The welfare team at Estuary Housing Association hold vouchers for Trussel Trust foodbanks. These vouchers provide permission for you to collect a food parcel from your local distribution centre that will feed you and your family during a crisis. The vouchers are also held by CAB, Family Mosaic and certain charitable organisations.

Unfortunately not every local authority area where we have properties operates a voucher scheme food bank. To find out if there is one in your area please check the Trussell Trust website, or you can phone them on 01722 580 180.

In order to be eligible for a voucher from Estuary Housing Association, you will have to provide evidence of your income and/or a benefits letter stating that your benefits have been stopped.

If you live in an area without a food bank, you may still be able to obtain a food parcel from a local charitable association or the Salvation Army. For assistance please contact our welfare team via email or telephone 0300 304 5000.

Help with Utility Bills

You may qualify for assistance with your utility costs if you are in receipt of certain benefits or on a low income.

Suppliers sometimes have a charitable trust that can help if you are in arrears and you should contact them directly about this or you can check the information on the CAB website.

You may also benefit from changing your supplier and there are many websites that you can choose from to assist you to do this such as uswitch or compare the market.

You or your partner may qualify for the Warm Home Discount, the Winter Fuel Payment or the Cold Weather Payment. You can check your eligibility on the website.

Other Help

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can assist you to find the help you need, or you may benefit from some money management advice or advice from a specialist organisation. If you require further information, please contact our welfare team via email or telephone 0300 304 5000.

Keep EHA Informed

Remember to always keep Estuary Housing Association informed of your circumstances, particularly if your financial situation is affecting your rent account.