Financial Help & Advice
How we can help
If you are having problems paying your rent or service charge, contact us as soon as possible. We can offer confidential help, advice and support.
We can make agreements with you to reduce your arrears by paying a little extra each week until your arrears are cleared in full.
We can visit you in your home to discuss any problems, help you complete any forms and make sure you have the correct supporting documents.
If you are worried about debt you can get free and confidential advice and help.
Debts tend to grow so it is important you begin to sort out your problems now. The best way to tackle debts is to make a plan.
- Work out all the money you have coming in. Can your income be increased? For instance, can you claim more benefits or tax credits?
- Work out your regular expenditure (other than your debts). Is there any way to reduce your spending?
- Work out how much you have left to pay your debts and prioritise your debts.
- Get help from a non-profit debt counselling service.
- Think very carefully before borrowing money to pay off your debts.
Do not be pushed into making payments you cannot afford. If you are being harassed by a creditor call National Debtline on 0808 808 4000.
Maximise your income: benefits and tax credits
Extra income might be available to you if you belong to one or more of the following groups:
- Families with dependent children and an income of less than £26,000.
- People without children earning less than £18,000.
- People out of work.
- People with an illness or disability.
- Carers, guardians and people over sixty.
You can use our online benefit checker (opens a new window) to work out how much you could claim.
Please see our page on Welfare Reform for details on changes to benefit that may affect you.
All tenants of Arcon Housing Association can now benefit from membership of Manchester Credit Union. This follows recent changes to government legislation, which allowed the credit union to extend its “common-bond” to include all tenants of Arcon Housing, regardless of where they live.
Credit unions are not-for-profit, member owned financial co-operatives. They offer a range of products and services such as:
- Adult & Junior Member Savings Accounts
- Christmas Club Saving Accounts
- Regular Savings via payroll deduction or standing order
- Flexible Savings from cash deposits at Post Offices, Payzone & Paypoint Outlets
- Annual Dividend paid to all members.
- Borrow from as little as £100 up to £15,000
- Affordable weekly or monthly repayments to suit your income
- Loans to members, even if they have poor credit history
- Maximum interest rate of 2.75% per month (38.5% APR)
- Same day transfer into bank account.
- Cheaper option than pay-day loan companies or doorstep lenders!
Credit Union Current Account (CUCA)
- Unique current account available only to credit union members
- ATM or Debit card facility
- Pay your bills by Direct Debit or Standing Order.
- Have your wages and benefits paid into your CUCA free of charge
- No hidden fees or charges.
Rent Direct Account
The Credit Union has developed a new account specifically so that tenants can stay on top of their rent and/or Council tax, keeping your home secure.
All Credit Union members also benefit from free life savings and loan protection insurance.
To become a member of Manchester Credit Union, download a Membership Application Form and return it to Arcon’s office. You will also need to provide one form of photographic ID, such as a valid passport or driving licence, and two recent proofs of address e.g. recent utility bill or bank statement.
Membership application forms can be downloaded from Manchester Credit Union or by phoning 0161 231 5222.
You can also speak to your Housing Officer, who will have copies of forms and can answer question and help you to become a member.
Help with your utility bills
There are lots of ways to save money on utility bills, helping you to reduce spending.
- Pay by direct debit and paperless billing.
- Take regular meter readings. Bills based on estimated readings mean that you could end up paying more than you use.
- Compare suppliers. There are a number of comparison websites where you can find the best prices.
- Save energy. Small changes to the way you use energy and water can have noticeable effects on your bills.
Your supplier may have a social tariff—a reduced rate for the elderly and those on low incomes and benefits. Contact your supplier to find out if you are eligible.
If you are aged 60 or over you may get a Winter Fuel Payment to help with the costs of keeping warm in winter. Contact the Winter Fuel Payments Helpline on 08459 15 15 15 for more information.
For more information about reducing your fuel bills, see our Fuel Information Pack.
Remember, you cannot be disconnected for water rates debts.
Some water companies threaten to disconnect a property because ‘they think the property is empty’. Make sure you keep in touch with the company as they may try to do this if nobody has answered their letters for some time.
If your water company has threatened to disconnect your supply, ring them and make sure that they understand that you are still in the property and they cannot disconnect the supply.
My Home Energy Switch
My Home Energy Switch is a partnership between the National Housing Federation and uSwitch.com. You can save money on gas and electricity using their free, impartial online or telephone service.
You can compare all the suppliers and tariffs by visiting http://nhf.billscutter.com or by calling the helpline on 0800 0515346. It only takes a few minutes to switch and they take care of all the paperwork.
All you need is a recent energy bill for the online service. Call the number above if you do not have one.