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Vicar’s Relief Fund

Vicar’s Relief Fund

Who can apply?

We only accept applications from paid frontline workers providing support to people who are experiencing homelessness or vulnerable housing.

A frontline worker includes staff working in the Voluntary, Statutory and Public Sectors undertaking diverse roles including Resettlement or Outreach Workers, Supported Housing Officers, Mental Health Teams, Drug and Alcohol Support, GP’s, Probation, Social Workers, Prison In-Reach Workers, Police, Nurses, other Health professionals.

What do we fund?

The Vicar's Relief Fund (VRF) provides small crisis grants of up to £350 to support people who are at risk of, or currently experiencing homelessness or vulnerable housing, to establish and maintain their tenancies. Types of applications include funding to secure accommodation and to clear rent arrears following an eviction notice.

We provide grants for:

Accessing accommodation - Rent deposits, rent in advance, admin fees, ID, or temporary accommodation costs.

Preventing eviction - Rent arrears, service charge arrears, Debt Relief Orders and bankruptcy fees or money to pay for a hoarding clean up.

Setting up home - Household goods or moving costs.

 

 

Who do we help?

We provide crisis grants, and applications should only be made to us as a last resort. The VRF has a strict daily budget that is oversubscribed. As it is a crisis fund, we will only approve applications where a grant will alleviate or prevent homelessness or assist those that are vulnerably housed. We do not make grants to simply reduce financial burden.

I’m homeless, can I apply for a grant?

We do not accept applications from members of the public. If you need a grant yourself, you will need to approach a support service (eg. a homelessness charity or the CAB) and ask them to apply for you.

Who can apply?

We only accept applications from paid frontline workers providing support to people who are experiencing homelessness or vulnerable housing.

A frontline worker includes staff working in the Voluntary, Statutory and Public Sectors undertaking diverse roles including Resettlement or Outreach Workers, Supported Housing Officers, Mental Health Teams, Drug and Alcohol Support, GP’s, Probation, Social Workers, Prison In-Reach Workers, Police, Nurses, other Health professionals.

Why can't people apply for a grant directly themselves?

By issuing the funds through frontline organisations and landlords, we can maintain a secure point of contact, receive receipts and ensure grants are spent as intended to help the people who need it most.

Does the charity support people who are homeless and vulnerably housed outside of London?

Yes, we provide grants UK-wide.

Do clients have to be a UK/EU national?

No, though they have to be living in the UK and accessing accommodation in the UK.

What does the VRF fund?

A deposit, rent in advance, admin fees, ID, or temporary B+B accommodation – where it will help someone access accommodation. When we have awarded a grant to access accommodation we can also fund household goods or moving costs.
Rent arrears (including a DRO and bankruptcy fees), service charge arrears, or money to pay for a hoarding clean up – where it will prevent eviction.

How much can I apply for?

£350 is the maximum amount we will issue to any one client in a 12 month period.

£350 for deposits and rent arrears
£100 for admin fees (letting agency fees)
£90 for ID - three types of photo ID (citizen card, passport, and provisional driving licence) and one type of non-photo ID (birth certificate) to enable clients to access accommodation
£250 for household goods 

What is the eligibility criteria for household goods and which items do you fund?

The £250 for household goods is for clients who are moving into new accommodation after experiencing homelessness, or for clients who have moved into new accommodation after experiencing homelessness and have lived there for two months or less.

The household items we fund include carpets, fridges, cookers, washing machines or beds/bedding.

Why does the VRF have a £350 limit?

The demand on our service means that we can’t afford to fund all applications received (we receive around 35 applications a day). The £350 limit means we can afford to deliver the impact of a small grant for many people, rather than using our budget on only a few individuals. The amount was updated from £250 in 2016 to reflect the changes in inflation and ensure that the awards had the same impact as previous years.

What if more than £350 is needed?

If a grant is to be used as part of a bigger package of support then please do not make an application until you have received a response from other funding sources you may have approached, eg. when an application for Discretionary Housing Payment is still open.

Do we help with moving costs?

Yes, we will pay up to £350 for moving costs. Please note we can only pay this to the removal firm or to the support agency. 

Do we help with hoarding/decluttering?

Yes if it would prevent eviction.

How do I make an application?

We only accept applications through our online system Flexi-Grant : https://smitf.flexigrant.com

What documentation is needed to support the application?

All applications must include a signed client consent form.
Applications to clear a client’s rent arrears must include an official written notice of eviction/ termination of a license.
Applications for access to accommodation must include the address that the client is planning to move into.

When will I hear back from you?

Please allow five working days for your application to receive a response. We ask that you do not contact us within this time. The VRF is heavily oversubscribed and to ensure we treat all applications fairly, we do not respond to requests for an application to be fast-tracked.

Once the application is submitted, we are only able to discuss the application with the frontline worker submitting it and the manager named on the application. If you are about to go on annual leave or you know that you will not be available within this timeframe, please do not make an application. If you have a colleague that will be taking over in your absence, then they will need to have their own separate account to be able to make a referral on behalf of your client.

What does it mean if my grant is at "Current Stage: Offer"?

In Flexigrant, if the status of your application is at "Current Stage: Offer" this means that your application has been successful and is waiting to be processed.

Please do not contact us during this time unless it has been more than 5 working days since you submitted your application. You will receive an email once the grant has been processed.

Can we pay clients directly?

We can make BACS payments to organisations or landlords or post cheques to organisations.

We were awarded a grant for a particular property, but due to a change of circumstances would like to use it for a different property. Is that allowed?

Yes.