Wheatley Group offers aid to African communities in Scotland
EPIC 360 and Wheatley Group join together to provide services for tenants
On the 12th of April, the Wheatley Group held a meeting with the African Housing Forum, discussing welfare challenges and their plans to support African tenants.
Over 200 people situated in 17 local authority areas across central Scotland are currently provided with homes and services by Wheatley Group, Scotland’s top care, property and housing management team.
The Wheatley welfare reform and EPIC 360 joined together to provide the public with support services. EPIC 360, a financial capability project, run sessions on how to manage money, including budgets, debts and savings.
Introducing this agenda was Liam Spence, the Welfare Reform Change Programme Leader. He highlighted the Scottish Welfare Fund and the changes made to the discretionary social fund in April of 2013.
“In the recent SWF scheme changes, some new measures were included: freeze on benefits, reduction in working tax credits, no additional housing benefit for third child born after 1st April 2017, and maximum capital on housing benefit from 2019 particularly for single people under 35, grants can no longer be paid to an individual unless in a very difficult situation,” Spence said.
So many people live on low income and are having wellbeing challenges, and homelessness has also increased, he said.
“Meetings like this one aim to find out about people’s problems and challenges, inform them about the many benefits Welfare Reform offers, their provision for a loan, efforts to influence policy welfare, and at the same time try to negotiate with the Scottish government,” Spence added.
Beltus Etchu, Group Executive President of African Forum Scotland, said: “African tenants should own up their challenges as Welfare Reform Team assures to give extensive care and support.
“It is very important for us to work together, and through this welfare reform programme much can be achieved towards a better life.”
During the presentation, Janine Nonner, Development Officer for EPIC 360, stated that they are an easy point of contact towards solving an individual’s welfare problems.
Nonner said: “EPIC 360 has the financial capability to reach out to people, offer temporary support with food, give loans, pay their house bills, assist on finding a job, help individuals to open a bank account without charge, even going to the bank with them.”
She added: “This is how far we go just to help.”
Wheatley Fuel advisor Hugh Gregor, said: “We are here to help.” He added that necessary procedures are being taken, including investigating individuals’ financial situation in order to confirm their sincerity. “We make referrals and give advice to individuals on how to manage their gas and electricity,” Gregor continued. “If their appliances have high consumptions, we negotiate on behalf of individuals for cost reduction, debt reduction or removal.”