Demand for emergency financial support from London boroughs almost tripled during the first three months of lockdown, figures reveal.
Umbrella group London Councils said Covid-19 had led to “unprecedented demand” from residents.
Boroughs have turned to online crowdfunding campaigns and elaborate volunteer networks to see their poorest residents through the pandemic.
Collectively they paid out almost £2.3 million in local welfare assistance between March and June.
Last year the figure was £857,500.
Most requests came from families for small one-off payments for essentials such as gas and electric bills or travel expenses for vulnerable individuals returning home from hospital, councils said.
Local authority leaders warned further tier restrictions or a second lockdown would lead to an unprecedented spike for more welfare support.
They have asked the Government to reduce its five-week wait for a first benefit payment under Universal Credit and introduce “starter payments” to ensure those in need have enough money to pay for food and heating during the pandemic.
London Councils’ executive member for welfare Muhammed Butt said: “The crisis has brought severe financial hardship to many Londoners and an enormous surge in people approaching their local borough for help.
“A second wave of the virus means that economic pressures are bound to get worse. London boroughs will continue helping our residents as best we can.
"Even a modest amount of financial aid provided by a council can help a resident avoid spiralling debts, homelessness, and other situations likely to lead to larger costs to the public purse.”