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Housing costs, bills and homelessness support

If you are struggling with housing costs and household bills or are at risk of becoming homeless, here’s more details of the support on offer.  

At risk of becoming homeless

If you're looking for somewhere to live or worried about losing your accommodation it's important to talk to us as soon as possib

Our Community Connections team can: 

  • help you find a home (social or private) 
  • help you with private rented accommodation by working with you and your landlord to resolve any tenancy issues (benefit problems, legal notices or poor housing conditions) 
  • check to see if you're eligible for a deposit guarantee (a written agreement in place of a cash deposit) to help you into private rented accommodation 
  • check to see if you're eligible for any housing benefits to help pay part or all of your rent 
  • help you deal with legal issues if your landlord has applied for a possession order 
  • talk to your friends and relatives if they've asked you to leave your accommodation 
  • make referrals to supported accommodation 
  • give you advice about local support and services if you're sleeping rough 

Email CommunityConnections@plymouth.gov.uk or call 01752 305496 (select option 1) for more information.  

Help paying Council Tax 

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, check if you can claim: 

  • Single person discount: If you are the only adult living in your property, you can apply for a single person discount of 25% off your bill. 
  • Student exemptions and discounts: If you are a full-time student you may be eligible for a discount on your Council Tax bill
  • Discounts for disabled people: You might be able to get a Council Tax discount if you or someone who lives with you has a disability
  • Other Council Tax discounts and exemptions: You may be entitled to a discount because you or others who are living with you are not counted when calculating the amount of the Council Tax due (for example, care leavers, carers or apprentices). If everyone who lives in the household is not counted, then you may be able to get a further discount or exemption. 

Council Tax Support is a local means-tested scheme for people on low incomes or claiming benefits such as Universal Credit, to help them pay their Council Tax. Any owner-occupier or tenant aged 18 or over who is legally responsible for the Council Tax can claim Council Tax Support. If you get Council Tax Support but still have to pay some Council Tax, then check if you are eligible for an exceptional hardship payment

Consider paying your Council Tax by direct debit as this gives you a choice of payment dates.  

If you are not eligible for discounts or support and are still struggling to pay, you can apply for a payment arrangement

Help paying for housing 

Housing Benefit can help you to pay your rent if you are unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. For most people Housing Benefit has been replaced by Universal Credit.  

If you need help to pay your Council Tax you will still need to claim Council Tax Support

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are extra payments if you need help with rent or housing costs. DHPs can be used to pay your rent, removal costs or rent in advance. You can apply for a DHP if you currently receive either Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit and you need more financial support with housing costs. 

Reducing your water bill 

If you’re struggling to pay your water bill, then there is help available from South West Water. You can also find useful advice about how to save water, which may also help reduce your bill.  

South West Water will be holding drop-in sessions at libraries where you can get help and advice about how to lower your water bills.  

Find a session near you:   

Cheaper broadband and phone packages 

If you claim Universal Credit, Pension Credit or certain other benefits, you could claim cheaper broadband and phone packages known as ‘social tariffs’.  

These are cheaper than a regular package, typically around £10 to £20 a month, and come with small or no setup costs. Find out more on the Ofcom website.  

Free mobile data

Virgin Media O2 is piloting its National Databank service at 10 O2 stores across the country, including the O2 store in Drake Circus.

The National Databank is like a foodbank but for free mobile data, texts, and calls. You can access it at Plymouth’s O2 store and eligible people can claim 20GB of free O2 data per month for up to six months.

To receive the support you must be over 18 years old and be from a low income household, and meet one or more of the following statements:

  • have no access or insufficient access to the internet at home
  • and/or have no or insufficient access to the internet when away from the home 
  • and/or be unable to afford your existing monthly contract or top up 

Find out more about the National Databank.

Grants for the Armed Forces community

In response to the increasing cost of living, the Royal British Legion has launched Everyday Needs Grants, providing up to £2,400 over 12 months for members of the Armed Forces community.

The grants programme aims to help with everyday essentials, such as kitchen appliances, clothes and energy costs. It’s open to anyone who is eligible for Royal British Legion support, which includes serving personnel or those who have previously served.

Find out more and apply on the Royal British Legion website.

Help to make your house accessible 

If you or someone you live with is disabled, you can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant to make adjustments to your home including:  

  • stairlifts 
  • level access showers 
  • widening doors 
  • installing ramps 
  • through the floor lifts 
  • adapting heating/lighting facilities 
  • safe access to gardens 

If you receive a means-tested benefit or the grant is for a child you'll get a full grant to cover the cost of the works. The maximum grant available is £30,000. If you don't receive a means-tested benefit, you'll be assessed to see if you've got to contribute towards the cost of the work.