Our Town Hall reporter, KEN LEE, on the latest special measures being taken by Mint Walk to deal with the covid-19 emergency
Croydon Council took on a key emergency responsibility yesterday as the coronavirus emergency lockdown entered its second week.
After being ordered by the government to get all the homeless off the streets this weekend, the council has also opened local hubs in conjunction with public sector partners, Croydon Voluntary Action and the battalion of new volunteers to help to deliver food and medical supplies to older and vulnerable residents.
Those due to receive the support should have received a letter from the NHS in the last week. The local hubs, whose locations have not yet been publicised, will also give advice about where to tap in to covid-19 related medical services.
The council, with CVA as the lead co-ordinator, was quick to try to harness the many mutual aid groups that have sprung up across the borough.
From Monday, the council is providing a helpline and emergency email for those residents who have been identified for hub support.
The number is 020 8604 7787, the email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who have not had an NHS letter but are in need of support or are struggling to access food or essential supplies are encouraged to look to the CVA for help at www.croydon.gov.uk/cva.
Using the government’s £500million hardship fund, the council is also accepting applications from those in difficulties with paying Council Tax to apply for a delay in paying till June. This is offered with self-employed workers particularly in mind, as they are not due support from the government for three months.
The proposal represents about £8 per resident of the UK and Northern Ireland once spread between them.
Croydon is to receive £4.38million from government from this hardship fund, with councils giving an automatic £150 discount for working-age residents who qualify for Council Tax support. The government estimates that more than 20,000 Croydon residents might be eligible. Any household on Council Tax benefit will have their due date for payment of the tax postponed until June.
The scheme places another administrative burden on the council, though its experience with its award-winning Gateway operation for those on benefits might make it better placed than others to cope.
The council is encouraging anyone who is in trouble financially to make contact with them about support with paying their Council Tax.
A Katharine Street source said, “For decades, governments of both colours have derided local councils and undermined them. This national emergency shows how it is local authorities that can deliver in times of trouble.”
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