Housing association Arhag has launched a free housing and benefit hotline for BME women and girls

Housing Association Arhag has launched a free housing and benefit hotline specifically for BME women and girls living in the UK.

It is a free service paid for by the Tampon Tax Fund (TTF), which saw Arhag and its five partners win £1 million in funding earlier this year.

A qualified Welfare Benefits Specialist, employed as a result of the TTF will be answering calls and giving advice. The new line is open on Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm.

The line is not confined to Arhag residents living in 1,000 homes in the capital, but is open to BME women and girls nationwide.

In addition, face-to-face benefits advice is being provided to migrant women at Praxis Community Projects, in Bethnal Green, London.

Both services offer detailed advice on Universal Credit (UC) problems and other issues relating to benefits.

As well as navigating the often-complicated transition to UC, applicants are advised on how to fill in forms online and where they can find free-to-use computers and wifi if they do not have access to them.

Other services accessed through the BME Women’s Hub are provided by Arhag’s partners: Olmec, Doctors of the World, Migrants’ Rights Network, Praxis Community Projects and Iranian and Kurdish Womens’ Rights Organisation (IKWRO). The agencies aim to help 4,000 BME women.

The TTF funding means that Doctors of the World’s clinic in East London which has operated for 12 years on three days a week, can now operate for five days per week, giving more people at risk access to healthcare.

Olmec, Arhag’s employment partner, is delivering a specific digital training package using TTF funding as well as its RISE into Employment scheme to help BME women get jobs or improve their careers.

Migrants Rights’ Network will soon begin delivery of a Women in Leadership programme and IKWRO are working with victims of gender-based violence and also training victims to become volunteers.

Mariam Diakite, TTF Project Manager at Arhag, said: “The schemes underway so far, with more to come, will help bring real change and improvement to the lives of more than 4,000 BME women and girls across the UK.”

The benefit advice hotline can be reached on 0800 389 0405 and the drop-in advice sessions are available for Tower Hamlets residents on Thursdays from 9.30am to 12.30pm at Praxis, Pott Street, Bethnal Green, E2 0EF. They are on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis so please ensure you arrive in good time to have a better chance of being seen.

For further information please contact Andy Buckwell on andy@flipcomms.com or 07973 504 084.

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