Possible Closure of Welfare Assistance Fund Oct 2014
We signed a joint letter with Inclusion London and partners asking for the Local Welfare Assistance Fund to remain open. There are Government plans to close all funds from May 2015 partly because the funds are not being spent. In Merton fewer than 1% of our service users have been able to access the local fund and there is an underspend of £250k. This is because the criteria are complicated and restrictive. For example, a homleess person was housed but there was no furniture. She was only allowed to get vouchers for the Vine Project, a local recycling charity, but they had no stock. Another person was in crisis, unable to pay rent or bills. We had given him food vouchers, but the grant from the council was only £30 per week for 2 weeks.