Screaming inflation, which makes everything more expensive, and unprecedented energy price increases are putting more households in a tight financial bind. Vestland’s municipality would like to help more households with money concerns. And the initiative ‘Vestland gives heat’ by Joop van Rossem has so far raised 22,000 euros for people in energy poverty.
By Evelyne Lammerding
The chairman of the Westland Food Bank, Aart Quak, said it already at the beginning of last month: Those who are on the edge and until now have only been able to manage, quickly end up in a difficult package. According to him, a lead time is needed before the effects of inflation and energy prices become noticeable.
Vestland’s municipality expects a growth in the number of requests for help with money problems.
There are special schemes for those who can barely or cannot pay the energy bill. Three thousand Westland households have received the Energy grant of 1,300 euros for one year. These are households that have to live on up to 120 percent of the social minimum. Another compensation will come next year.
In addition to the Energy Allowance, there will be a new scheme from 24 October: the Special Energy Aid. Middle incomes and perhaps higher incomes may appeal to this new arrangement, the municipality said.
Special energy assistance works individually: if a household earns more than 170 percent of the social minimum, the special energy assistance is lower than for a household that is below 170 percent of the social minimum.
Singles may not have more than 6,505 euros in savings, people with a partner may have up to 13,010 euros in savings. The compensation is a maximum of 80 percent of the difference between the old and the new account. And the energy bill must show an increase.
Applications can be made from 24 October to 31 December 2023. The municipality expects to spend half a million euros per year on this scheme. This comes from the surplus in the state budget for energy supplements.
The municipality expects that around two hundred Westland households will apply for this Special Energy Aid.
The Westland provides warmth
Joop van Rossem took the initiative from the Oude Kerk in Naaldwijk for ‘Westland gives warmth’. In addition to the churches, the municipality, the foundation Voor Elkaar Westland, Vitis Welzijn, the Food Bank and the Vluchtelingenwerk are also involved in the initiative. Fond 1818 doubles the income.
“The government was in chaos in terms of providing assistance. That is why the initiative was created. It has already happened in other churches in the country.”
Initially, the idea was that everyone who could pay the bill should give the energy compensation to those who need it. “Now we ask what someone wants to donate. For one it will be 20 euros, for the other 200. We now have a total of 22,000 euros.’
If you want to request help or want to donate, you can go to the website www.westlandgevenheat.nl. Inquiries can also be submitted at Viti’s neighborhood information points. There is a handy overview of the locations on the page.
Employees at Vitis Welzijn check whether the application is accepted. “Last week we decided that we will donate money to people according to the Nibud calculation. If Vitis thinks someone is not eligible, but something is wrong, someone from the project comes. We don’t want to be too rigid with rules.”
A household that falls outside the public rules, but is still unable to pay the energy costs, can receive 150 to 500 euros in compensation. “We immediately agreed with the municipality that these people will not have their benefits cut if they get it.”
Westand gives Warmth runs until 1 March. Until then, you can sign up based on energy bills from October ’21 to October ’22. You can also donate until March 1.
The campaign ‘Money worries? Together we get out of Vestland’s municipality started this week. With this, the municipality will encourage westerners to ask for help in time with money concerns. The help is provided through Vitis Welzijn’s Debt Relief Buddies Project. Or through Vestlands municipality’s debt advice.
In addition, there are minimum arrangements, and the municipality works with ‘early warning’. For this, the municipality cooperates with various authorities. They report payment problems to the municipality so they can offer help.