Coronavirus update for customers
Following the announcement that England has entered a second lockdown from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, we’ve reviewed the guidance carefully and will not be making any changes to the services we provide at this time.
This could change as new guidance is released by the government, but for now we’ll be using our risk assessment system to make sure we carry out our services in the safest way possible across all of our regions.
We’ll continue to stay in touch with you as we monitor the situation closely in line with our three tiered approach to providing services.
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.
We’ve been busy working through all of the mutual exchange applications that were suspended during lockdown, we’re now able to start processing new applications as we move towards stage three of our recovery. However, there is likely to be some delay as we work through the back log of applications. We understand that this is frustrating, and we will do all we can to progress applications as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
If we’re due to carry out a repair or visit you over the coming weeks, please follow social distancing rules and if you can, you’ll need to stay in another room for the entire visit. If that’s not possible, please wear a face covering at all times. Our colleagues will also ask for windows to be left open in the area they’re working in to help keep you and them safe. We’ve put together this video to give you an idea of what to expect when we visit your home.
In line with our plan, we are now scheduling repairs that have been reported to us since March, alongside essential and emergency repairs.
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.
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, have recently returned from a country where the government has imposed a 14 day quarantine period 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
As a result of the government restrictions that came into effect in England on Thursday 5 November, unfortunately customers in our independent living schemes will be unable to meet socially indoors with family or friends until Wednesday 2 December, unless it’s an essential visit, or as part of a support bubble.
We appreciate that this change may be upsetting and if you would like to talk to us about how this affects you please contact your Independent Living Officer.
These restrictions have been put in place in our schemes to help keep everyone safe. Please follow latest government advice when moving around the building, keep at least two metres from others and wear a face covering at all times.
Our internal communal areas will remain closed. We know that communal areas are important to many of you but it’s vital that we do everything we can to limit the spread of the virus and help keep you safe.
Your health and safety and that of our colleagues is our priority and we are led by the government and our own risk assessments. We’ll keep the measures under constant review and adapt as the situation changes or restrictions are eased.
We’re doing all we can to ensure that you continue to receive the services you need, whilst following the measures outlined by government to protect our customers and colleagues.
For more information please see our information for Independent Living Customers.
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.
If we are due to visit you and you have recently returned from a country where the government has imposed a 14 day quarantine period, please contact us through our contact centre and we'll re-arrange your visit.
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 Covid-19.
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.
- 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-