G15 members commit to new £5.8m cost of living support for residents

In response to the cost of living challenges facing many people, driven by sky-rocketing energy bills, G15 members have committed a further £5.8 million to support residents facing hardship this year.

Through a range of resident welfare and hardship funds, administered by each not-for-profit housing association, residents can receive support with issues such as emergency fuel and food needs, as well as receiving specialist advice and support. The majority of members have increased the support available in these funds from last year, with increases ranging from 18% to 1,171%.

Alongside this emergency support, new figures have revealed that, during the last year (2021/22), G15 members supported residents to secure £44 million of financial gains by accessing social security support and other budget boosting measures.

G15 members provided 33,767 people with targeted advice support in the last 12 months, including specialist debt advice.

The support comes at the same time as G15 members have called for government action to support people facing cost of living pressures as a result of rising energy bills. Earlier this week, the G15 added its support to calls for action by the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss MP, to bring forward the planned uprating of social security from next April next year to this October, and to prevent energy companies from forcibly switching people to prepayment meters, which can often be more expensive.

As well as crisis support, G15 members continue to invest to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes and to cut bills for residents. For example, through insultation works, MTVH has saved residents £739,000 over the last year on their bills, and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund backed improvements will benefit a further 1,200 homes, saving a further £230,000 on energy bills. Clarion will deliver energy improvements to at least 3,000 homes this year, having carried out works to 1,726 homes over the last year. Peabody is currently fitting 300 homes with solar panels and batteries.

All G15 members are working towards ensuring all homes meet at least Energy Performance Certificate band C by 2030, with over 71% of G15 homes rated EPC C or above already. Homes rated EPC F are likely to have a gas bill £968 higher than homes rated EPC C, and when gas and electricity bills are taken together, those living in the worst rated homes will pay almost £2,000 extra compared to EPC C, and the average EPC D homes will pay almost £600 extra, demonstrating the need to continue investment in improving energy efficiency of existing homes.

Geeta Nanda OBE, G15 Chair and Chief Executive of MTVH, said:

“We are deeply concerned by the impact cost of living pressures are having on the people we provide homes to. As this commitment to boosting hardship funding shows, G15 members are increasing support for residents, alongside providing specialist advice and assistance. This is on top of the work we are doing to bring down people’s energy bills by improving the energy performance of the homes we provide.

“However, despite helping to secure £44 million of financial gains for residents and supporting more than 33,700 people in the last year, we know times are really tough. All our organisations are committed to support the people we provide homes to, despite costs facing not-for-profit housing associations rising faster than inflation, with vital materials for repairs works increasing by as much as 16.8% this year.

“The difficulties we see people facing shows how critical it is that the government announces further support for people to deal with crippling energy bills, but also to make sure the social security system is able to help people when they need it.”