10,000 families have benefitted from a free money and debt advice in Sunderland, thanks to the support of the ‘Money Matters’ service in the city.
The Money Matters service, which is delivered by Sunderland based housing association, Gentoo Group, has helped tenants to claim a staggering £5,134,669 million in unclaimed benefits since 2014.
Last year alone, it helped residents on Wearside claim £1 million in unclaimed benefit.
Gentoo’s Money Matters Team, which provides crucial financial and debt advice to its 60,000 tenants, has continued to provide specialist advice and support throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
2020 was a challenging financial year for thousands of families in Sunderland and the Money Matters Team were on hand to ensure tenants did not fall into financial difficulty, with 1,225 tenants supported to help make financial gains. The team also provided almost £10,000 in crisis funding to families across the city, with essentials such as food parcels and gas and electric top-up, as well as supporting more than 2,000 tenants to utilise water discount schemes, with more than £205,000 in discounts being claimed.
Susie Thompson, Director of Housing at Gentoo, said:
“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our tenants have continued to pay their rent as we would expect, but naturally, because of the economic situation the pandemic has created, we have seen an increase in the number of tenants accessing our Money Matters service. We’re very proud to provide this free service for our tenants and to help more than 10,000 people with more than £5,134,669 million in unclaimed benefits is just incredible. You can’t underestimate the positive difference the service has made to the lives of thousands of Gentoo tenants.”
The service, which employs a number of specialist advisors, offers support to some of the most financially vulnerable, by providing benefit checks, energy saving advice and budgeting assistance, as well as signposting to partners for debt advice. The service also works closely with key partners in the city, such as the Moneywise Credit Union, to help tenants make the most of their money whether that’s finding the right deal or helping them to budget better.
The service is not just for those in financial difficulty, the team also support those who have recently had a change in circumstances and may need guidance on how to move forward.
If you are a Gentoo tenant and would like to speak to a specialist Money Matters advisor about your finances, you can do so confidentially, by calling 0300 123 2004, or alternatively, tenants can email firstname.lastname@example.org