Help with Bills and One-Off Costs

If you are having problems with your finances, you may be able to apply for our Tenants' Emergency Assistance Fund. You can also try these other ideas.

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 at least 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 claim Universal Credit. You will have to have been claiming for a six month period (part of this can include the benefits listed above that you received before moving to Universal Credit.) There are income limits if you are working and claiming Universal Credit 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 the Budgeting Loans page on For any further information, please contact your welfare officer on 0300 304 5000 or email the Welfare Team.

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 between 8:45am - 5:00pm. For goods, go to your local authority for advice about how to claim online or to collect an application form. You can check your local authority on Gov.UK.

Food Vouchers

Our Welfare Team hold vouchers for Trussell 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 try our What's On In Your Area? section, or check the Trussell Trust website. You can also phone the Trussell Trust on 01722 580 180.

In order to be eligible for a voucher from us, you must be a tenancy holder of one of our properties. You will also 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 email the Welfare Team, or call 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 Citizens Advice Bureau website.
  • You may also benefit from changing your supplier. There are many websites that you can choose from to help you, 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.
  • If you need a little extra support to pay your water bills, and your water is provided by Anglian Water, then don't worry. They could assist you with their WaterCare service.

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 email the Welfare Team.or call 0300 304 5000.

Keep EHA Informed

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