Update - Friday 27 March
On Monday we updated you on changes to our service to support the national effort to drive down the peak of the COVID-19 virus that is affecting so many people, including many of you and your loved ones. Our thoughts continue to be with you, your families and those who continue to work on the frontline to support us all at this difficult time.
Whilst our office remains closed, we are very much open for business and as we have said previously, our investment in technology has allowed our teams, including Customer Services, to work from home and be available to support you.
Our Rent Support team has been up and running since Monday and has dealt with over 300 enquiries, more information can be found on our dedicated page here.
As you will appreciate it’s not quite business as usual and some of the services for which we would normally visit you we are doing by telephone, including dealing with serious anti-social behaviour, starter and fixed term tenancy reviews and any tenancy changes.
There are also some additional things we are doing to support the most vulnerable, including calling the 1,400 over 70-year olds who live in a Grand Union home to make sure they are ok and have support. We are pleased that many have friends and family keeping in touch, but we will make sure we are there for those that do not.
If you or anyone else would like some extra support, please get in touch with us.
We are trying really hard to minimise visits in the interest of the national effort to delay the peak of the virus, and ensure the wellbeing of our colleagues and customers, however some of the services we provide require our teams to work in your home and community, more information on these is below.
Whilst this may be the last thing on most people’s mind at the moment, we do have a number of customers waiting to move into their new home, and many more that are homeless, some as a result of the COVID-19 virus. This is why we are trying our best to make sure that empty homes are available and have developed a safe way to do this, though some delays are inevitable.
When viewing a new property, our team will arrive early and open up, leaving you to take a look around. If you want the property, we have brought forward plans for a ‘no contact’ sign up process where you will receive documents to sign by email. Once signed you will receive a code to the key safe at your new home.
Unfortunately, this is not possible for resales and mutual exchanges and because we could not guarantee the safety of customers and colleagues, we have taken a decision to suspend these.
More information on applications for housing, mutual exchanges and garages can be found here.
Repairs and maintenance
Our repairs service will continue to deal with urgent repairs and works that are essential to keeping you safe, such as checking your boiler and communal fire alarm and emergency lighting checks. We’ve put a list of the kind of jobs that fall under both categories below.
We will still be coming to cut the grass and especially to our assisted gardening customers, if you are at home shielding, we want you to be able to enjoy your garden.
- No heating
- No hot water
- No power or partial loss of power
- Uncontrolled water leak
- Leaking roofs, pipes, tanks or cisterns
- Unsafe electrical sockets or switches
- Bleeping smoke alarm
- Shower not working
- Unable to unlock front/back door (even if secure)
- Cooker switch not working
- Dripping taps
- All light fitting replacements, not just bathrooms/kitchens
- Roof leaks (although we do not undertake those repairs so need to confirm with contractor, they are happy to undertake)
- Contained water leaks
- Blocked wastes/gullies (although these will still be recharged)
- Ease and adjust front/rear door
- Blocked shower wastes
Independent Living schemes
Our support services continue at all the schemes where we know that customers like to hear from us every day, however our team are checking everyone using the alarm call system to maintain social distancing. We are of course there in case of emergency and are continuing to provide urgent support for customers not living in a scheme but that need a telecare alarm.
Cleaning has been increased in the communal areas, however in accordance with the Government guidelines on gathering of more than two people we have closed all communal lounges.
Supporting children and young people
We are continuing to offer support for children and young people. If you are interested, please contact Nicola, our Youth Participation Officer on 07717 313868 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for activity ideas, one to one mentoring support and signposting to online learning.
How you can help
As we mentioned, we have a number of plans in place to keep disruption to a minimum, but you can help this too:
- Please be patient and bear with us. We will try to provide you with the best service we possibly can throughout all of this disruption.
- If you have a visit planned by a member of our team, let us know if you have been diagnosed with coronavirus or are self-quarantined. Call us on 0300 123 5544 as soon as possible.
- If you don’t need a visit, why not call us, email us or use our live-chat function.
- If you do need a visit, please follow NHS guidelines and:
- stay out of the room for repairs and surveys etc.
- or keep two metres between yourself and our colleagues.
- Be wary of coronavirus scams.
- Keep an eye on updates from the Government, wash your hands regularly and stay safe.
- Finally, keep an eye on our website and social media for further updates.