The HSF was launched in November after the council was allocated £5.6 million from the Department for Work and Pensions to help those most in need as the journey out of the Covid-19 pandemic continued.
Up to £2.3 million of the funding was allocated to provide vouchers for up to 27,500 children during school holidays until the end of March.
When the scheme was rolled out, the county council – in partnership with district and borough councils as well as professionals from designated organisations – worked to identify households and individuals who were in most need of help.
However, to speed up the process of support, the county council has now opened the HSF for residents to apply directly for financial assistance without the need to be referred through a professional.
The move means additional staff resource will be utilised on a short-term basis to help with the delivery of the funding before the scheme closes on March 31.
Coun John Cottee (Con), chairman of the county council’s communities committee, said: “We recognise that a significant number of residents and households across Nottinghamshire have experienced immense difficulties throughout the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Therefore, I sincerely hope speeding up the process of how we provide support to people most in need by enabling them to make an application directly to the HSF, will help to alleviate some of the financial worries they are currently facing.
“I would urge any individual, or household, who believes they are eligible for this welcome financial support to complete and submit an application form as soon as they can.”
Under the scheme, vouchers cover essential household costs such as food, energy, and water bills.
Initially, eligible households received a maximum of four vouchers covering different categories of support up until March 31 – which included one voucher for food, two for energy, and one for water.
However, the county council has now increased the maximum number of vouchers from four to six per household – with an additional two for energy.
It means a household with one person can get £60 for food, a household with two people can get £120 and a household with three or more people can get £180.
For energy, a maximum of four vouchers for £49 can be issued per household, while each household can get an £80 water voucher.
Residents can find out more about the HSF and how to apply for financial support here.