5 Funding Streams for HIAs
Cold homes can be a major factor affecting the health and well-being of occupiers leading to damp & mould growth, an increased likelihood of falls (particularly amongst those who are older and frail), and a marked effect on the mental health of others.
Where agencies come across a client living in a cold home, there may be a range of physical measures required to improve the situation. These generally fall into the areas of improving the current (if any) heating system, and/or improving the insulation qualities of the fabric of the building. The conditions in a cold or damp home can be exacerbated by the financial situation of the occupier if they fall into the ‘fuel poverty’ definition, and advice and information on energy usage, switching supplier, etc., will help in these cases.
There are a number of funding streams that agencies can use to help clients living in cold homes with the physical measures that are needed. These include: -
1. Decent Homes/Housing Health & Safety Rating system (HHSRS):
The Decent Homes standard, including the HHSRS sets a minimum standard for housing. It considers the age and condition of all the building elements as well as some twenty-nine potential ‘hazards’ that increase the likelihood of an event happening that would have a detrimental impact on the health of any occupier. Cold, damp and mould growth are the most frequently occurring and highest scoring hazards.
A number of local authorities provide grants to reduce or remove the assessed hazard, and typically this will include measures such as improved heating and increased insulation.
2. Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG):
The introduction of significant amounts of extra funding into the DFG programme has led to many local authorities taking a wider consideration of the matters needed to make the home suitable for the needs of the disabled person. Through the adoption of a local policy under the Regulatory Reform Order, a number of authorities have made grants available to deal with cold homes. This includes the repair, servicing and replacement of existing boilers.
3. Energy Redress Schemes
These schemes are funded through fines by Ofgem against energy suppliers and other companies who have failed to meet the requirements of the regulator. Some of the money raised is put into Energy Redress Schemes and organisations are invited to bid for funding according to the rules of the current scheme. Currently only registered charities can apply, although Local Authorities and HIA’s are encouraged to apply with charitable partners. As FILT is a registered charity, we’d be happy to work with any partners on a joint bid.
Energy Savings Trust administers the Energy Redress Scheme on behalf of Ofgem. The conditions attached to any bidding round are published and bids are invited. The total amount of funding for each bidding round will be capped, and if the total amount of funding is exceeded by the bids submitted an appraisal takes place and the number of successful bids will be limited to the total amount of the fund.
Funding can include support with training, education, energy advise, fuel poverty work, targeting, home assessments; as well as for heating, insulation and energy measures, although there are rules about not double counting funding with ECO and RHI.
4. ECO Funded schemes
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. It is funded by a levy on the energy industry, including suppliers and network operators. A legal framework for ECO schemes (currently ECO3) is established by the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy in consultation with the energy industry and others and are then published. Each supplier or network installer will develop their own scheme for the area that they cover based on the agreed framework and their own priorities. They may typically seek partners to deliver the outputs that they have established for the local scheme. Often the energy industry will do this through local authority led consortia, and the measures on offer to householders can again be wide-ranging, including replacement boilers, new heating systems (especially where there are old or inefficient electrical heating systems in place), and extensive insulation measures. ECO schemes are particularly targeted at reducing carbon emissions and ECO3 has targets for external wall insulation for hard-to-heat homes.
5. Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT)
FILT uses its efforts to raise funds that can be distributed to home improvement agencies and others to be administered locally and deal with small, often emergency situations, where other grants or schemes cannot help, or to top up other grants/schemes. FILT does this through its contacts with the energy industry, the building industry and other charities by putting the case for a fund to help in those situations that tend not to be covered by bigger programmes.
FILT publishes details of the funds that it has available to distribute and will seek partners on occasions to make bids into the Energy Redress and ECO schemes where appropriate.