The poorest HIV-positive people in Britain can now get help from a relaunched national Hardship Fund.
Leading HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) has secured money from the Elton John AIDS Foundation and MAC AIDS Fund as well as it’s annual sponsored Walk For Life fundraiser in London to provide £1.5million ($2.4million €1.8million) of grants over the next three years.
Hard-up positive people can apply for the Hardship Fund at one of 50 centers across the UK where they will get help completing their application.
It has been split into three different sections.
The Necessity Fund gives payments of up to £150 ($240 €179) to those who need help with day to day essentials, such as food, heating, or winter clothing. People can apply once every six months up to a total of £800 in their lifetime.
The Transition Fund offers up to £250 for one-off support during a major life change, like moving to a new area or waiting for a new job to start.
And the Family Fund gives families, where a parent or child is HIV-positive, £150 to help meet one-off expenses, just like the Transition Fund.
Both Family and Transition Fund grants can be applied for every two years to a life-time total of £500.
The organisations which help people apply and THT also aim to support those who apply to improve their long-term financial situation.
Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘Alongside stigma and discrimination, poverty is a major issue affecting many people with HIV. In fact, research tells us nearly one in three have ongoing problems getting enough money to live on.
‘Grants made through the Hardship Fund might be used to help someone with basic requirements like food or winter clothing. But perhaps just as importantly, they will give Terrence Higgins Trust and our partner agencies a stronger link with those in greatest need of support, allowing us to work closely with them in the long-term to improve their situation.’
The previous Hardship Fund, operated by HIV charity Crusaid, was closed in March 2010. When the two charities merged, Terrence Higgins Trust made a commitment to preserve its legacy, and set about constructing a new system of funding that would work as efficiently as possible for its beneficiaries. During this period, Terrence Higgins Trust also provided grants through an interim fund.
Find out about the Hardship Fund, including how to make an application, by calling +44 (0)20 7812 1682, or emailing [email protected]. Anyone who is living with HIV and in financial difficulty can call THT Direct on +44 (0)808 802 1221 to receive free and anonymous advice on their situation.