Coronavirus update for customers
If we are due to visit you and you have recently returned from Spain, or another country where government has imposed a 14 day quarantine period, please contact us through our contact centre and we'll re arrange your visit.
Over recent weeks, government advice around social distancing has meant that we have had to stop some of the services we normally carry out. Now that the government is continuing to ease some of these restrictions, we are looking at the best way to reintroduce services while ensuring that you and our people stay safe.
We’ve been following government updates closely as we continue to resume our services, in line with our own three staged approach to turning services back on, which you can see here.
In phase one of our plan we restarted our full annual programme of gas, electrical and stairlift safety checks, as well as external and communal repairs, grounds work and some neighbourhood inspections.
Since we began letting our homes again, we have re-let over 200 homes to families on the housing register. Our lettings team is using technology to conduct virtual tours, which gives new customers the chance to view their homes remotely.
We’ve returned to a normal programme of safety inspections, including fire risk assessments and asbestos surveys and since the start of June we’ve carried out over 2,000 routine gas safety checks. It’s vital these inspections are completed to ensure our homes remain safe places to live so it’s really important that you allow our colleagues access.
If we are due to visit your home, it’s important that you let us know before we arrive if you are self-isolating or otherwise affected by Coronavirus by calling us on 0333 400 8222.
One of the biggest changes as we move from phase one to phase two of our recovery plan is restarting some of our non-essential repairs services. You can read more about this in our repairs section below.
We have also resumed letting homes in our sheltered housing and extra care schemes and we’re confident we can restart mutual exchanges in early July. We know this is really important to those customers waiting to resume or start their mutual exchange and we’ve made sure the necessary changes and safeguarding measures are in place to protect both you and our people.
In line with our plan, we are now scheduling urgent repairs that have been reported to us since March, alongside essential and emergency repairs and over the next few months we’ll be working through the backlog of non-essential repairs that has built up since March. We expect this to take a several months to complete and we thank you in advance for your patience.
Please be reassured if you’ve previously requested a repair, your repair has been logged and we’re working through them in order of priority. You do not need to do anything more to confirm your repair, we’ll contact you directly to let you know your rearranged date.
Our people will always carry ID and will be able to show this to you before they start any work.
Our teams are working as fast as they can, whilst observing government guidelines, to help you. Please continue to log any repairs by calling our contact centre on 0333 400 8222 or through our online portal MyAster.
The next phase of our approach, when it’s appropriate for us to move to, is to focus on reinstating our full programme of works in customers’ homes
As we reintroduce our services our people will be following strict hand hygiene, wearing face coverings where appropriate, sanitising areas they touch and wiping down any tools they use. They will be following strict social distancing guidance and we ask that you stay at least two metres away from our colleagues at all times.
If we are due to carry out an emergency repair in your home, it’s important that you let us know before we arrive if you are self-isolating or otherwise affected by Coronavirus by calling us on 0333 400 8222.
If you think something in your home needs repairing it might be something that you can easily diagnose and fix. Check out our Advice Hub for some handy tips.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO YOU
We understand that you may be concerned about your finances, especially at the moment, but please be reassured we will work to help you as much as we can.
We have created an advice page to answer some of the questions you may have and we have a dedicated team of highly skilled people who are available to support you.
Our Financial Wellbeing and Customer Accounts teams are ready to help as much as they can, and we would encourage you to talk to us about your financial situation if you are worried.
We have a money advice tool that can help you to budget for rent and other charges, food and utilities. The Department for Work and Pensions has issued guidance about claiming support through Universal Credit. You can also visit our website pages for advice about Universal Credit, the government’s 80% pay furlough scheme and guidance if you are self-employed.
The Quids In! magazine, which we provide free to our customers, has updated its website to offer a host of money advice, tips and support.
Our Into Work and Financial Wellbeing services are available should you need them and our teams can support you through this period by helping you access work opportunities or offer help with managing your money.
We’re working hard to make sure we don’t add to your worries at this time and ask that you keep in touch with us about your situation. If you are concerned about paying your rent or other charges, please call us on 0333 400 8222.
EXTRA CARE AND SHELTERED SCHEMES
We have carefully considered the latest government guidance around restrictions within our independent living schemes and at the moment we are not making any changes.
So, for now, given the current guidance for at risk groups, all of our extra care and sheltered schemes remain closed to non-essential visitors and the internal communal areas are no longer available for residents to use, however visits within your own home can now take place following Government guidance. Full guidance can be found on the government website. For more information please see our Coronavirus advice for Extra Care schemes page.
The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is as always, our priority and we are led by the government and our risk assessment. We will keep the measures under constant review and adapt as the situation changes.
We are doing all we can to ensure that our most vulnerable customers continue to receive the services they need, whilst following the measures outlined by government to protect our customers and colleagues.
For more information please see our
Until further notice our offices remain closed to customers. Our Neighbourhood Officers will be out and about as normal conducting estate inspections, but we would ask that any contact with them is made by phone.
If you feel unwell and have any of the symptoms of Coronavirus – fever, cough, muscle pains – please follow the Government’s updated advice on the precautions you need to take.
WE ARE HERE
Whilst the environment around us is uncertain, please be reassured that we have over 1,400 caring, compassionate and dedicated people who will do their very best to continue to provide you with essential core services.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and understanding as we work together to play our part in limiting the further spread of coronavirus.
Our high level risk assessment provides an overview of the controls we have in place to help keep our people and customers safe. This document is updated and reviewed on a weekly basis. Click here to read more.
- Health advice – www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
- UK Government advice and updates – www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- UK Government guidance for tenants and landlords - www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-