Winter risk for 1,700 households in Brent residing in cold, energy inefficient homes

At least 1,700 households are facing a winter risk Picture: London Community Foundation

At least 1,700 households are facing a winter risk Picture: London Community Foundation - Credit: Archant

A Brent charity is warning that at least 1,700 households in the borough are at risk during the winter because they are living in cold, energy inefficient homes.

Energy Solutions, a Fuel Poverty and Energy Advice charity, claim the poorest people in Brent resident in properties with E,F & G rated Energy Performance Certificated – the lowest ratings.

The charity is calling for year round funding from multi agency commissioners to ensure insulation and energy efficiency improvements are carried out on the homes.

Matthew Sheen, the charity’s director, said: “For two years ‘Warm Homes Healthy People’ funding from the Department of Health has provided a bedrock of funding that has seen us deliver tens of thousands of pounds worth of help and housing improvements for households in fuel debt or cold and dangerously unhealthy housing.

“But that central funding was cut when public health responsibilities devolved to the local authority, and while we appreciate the tremendous pressure local budgets are under, it is essential that the relatively small amounts of funding required to support the work of charities like Energy Solutions is assured, in the face of the growing challenge - particularly in Brent’s private housing sector.”

The charity is also urging health care professionals to refer vulnerable residents to them.

In the past they have successfully helped residents including a 90-year-old woman in Willesden who was relying on an illegal gas fire after her storage heating broke down.

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The woman, known as Mrs R, said: “I couldn’t afford the gas and electricity bills. The Energy Solutions people told me I was spending too much money because my heating was so old and inefficient.

“They helped me sort out my energy debts and they also helped me get a new central heating system, which is so wonderful, as I can keep the house lovely and warm without it costing me the earth. I’m so grateful to them.”

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, told the Times they were applying for a variety of funding available for local authorities.

He added the council is working closely with Energy Solutions to identify vulnerable residents who need financial assistance to make their homes more energy efficient.

Energy Solutions has delivered energy advice and fuel poverty relief to Brent residents for more than 13 years.

They can also provide home visiting, debt counselling and advocacy.

For more information e-mail david@energysolutions.org.uk or call 0208 201 4364.

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