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This could include payments for specific items (such as furniture, white goods and clothing) to replace those destroyed in a fire or flood, as well as living expenses to cover the cost of food, utilities or lost/stolen benefit monies.
You can apply for an emergency loan if you:
are aged 16 or over
are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, such as universal credit, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment support allowance, income support or pension credit
have been resident in the borough for at least six weeks before making your application
do not have the resources available and are not eligible for a budgeting loan
have repaid any previous loans in full or can demonstrate you are paying off a loan.
If you do not have a fixed address, then you may be able to apply using your benefit correspondence address if this has been verified.
Some people are excluded from the emergency loan scheme and cannot make an application. These include:
people in hospital or care homes, unless they are due to be discharged in the next two weeks
prisoners who are either being held in prison or are on home leave
members of religious orders who have all their accommodation and living costs met
students in full-time education (unless you are receiving qualifying benefits)
most people who are subject to immigration control.
In addition, some expenses are always excluded from the emergency loan scheme. These include:
any expenses outside the UK
the costs of a school uniform, travelling expenses to and from school or school meals
medical costs or expenses
housing costs and most utility payments
The timescale for making decisions is two working days.
If your application is successful, then you could receive your loan in two different ways, depending on your personal circumstances and whether you have been awarded assistance with living expenses or for specific items. These are:
referral to Lewisham Plus Credit Union, who will contact you directly to arrange payment at an agreed location in the borough
collection at any Post Office branch in the UK using a unique identification code provided to you via email or text message.
For both methods, you will be required to agree a repayment plan for your loan, which will also include a monthly interest rate of 2%. You will never be asked to collect your emergency loan in person.
Rent in advance payments are intended to support single people who have a residency connection to this borough and are moving into private-rented sector accommodation within the borough.
Applications will only be considered if you have been discharged from long-term institutional care, such as prison, or you need to find a home as part of a planned resettlement or rehabilitation process and you fulfil the criteria for a support grant to be paid.
If you think that these circumstances apply to you, then you should first contact the Single Homeless Intervention and Prevention (SHIP) service.
The service will undertake an assessment of your needs and provide you with further advice regarding your housing situation, which may include making an application to the local support scheme for an emergency loan.