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Coronavirus update

Coronavirus update

Welcome to Together Housing’s dedicated webpage on the Coronavirus

This is where we will post regular updates on the Coronavirus.  Updates will be posted in date order and you may need to scroll down for older messages.

 

Friday 27 March – Temporary changes to our services

We understand that these are very difficult times for everyone and that all aspects of daily life have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 23rd March to stay at home as much as possible to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, we have had to make some temporary changes to our services. This update contains important information about these changes.

The Government has imposed strict rules on non-essential work and travel for 3 weeks. We anticipate the changes to our services will last for this period. All our office receptions are now closed to residents, but you can continue to contact us in the usual ways – by phone, email and by social media.

We will keep you updated as much as possible.

  1. Protecting our residents and staff
  2. Repairs to my home
  3. Services for my estate
  4. Paying my rent
  5. Schemes
  6. Neighbourhood Services

Thursday 26 March – Lettings service

We have postponed advertising on most of our properties. Please visit our Find a Home section for more information.

If you have an urgent need to be rehoused please contact your local council’s housing option team via their website.

Monday 23 March – Residents struggling with rent payments

We understand that this is a very difficult period for everyone and we are here to help and support you if you are struggling to pay your rent. To reassure you, we will not evict any resident at this time due to rent arrears.

If you are suffering from financial hardship and struggling to pay your rent as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak, please contact us as soon as possible and our details are given at the bottom of this update.

We will help and support you based on your individual circumstances. We do need to have an open and honest conversation with you so you may be asked:

  • Is it you who is ill, are you fit to work but cannot because of having symptoms, or is it someone else in your household who is affected that means you need to self-isolate?
  • What is your source of income normally and how often do you receive payment?
  • If you normally receive wages from an employer, what impact are you expecting on your income? Does your company have a sick pay scheme?

Answers to these types of questions will enable us to give you the best help and support on how you can manage your income at this time.

For residents claiming benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued new guidance here

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses

This guidance covers changes to jobcentre appointments, special arrangements for people already claiming benefits, advice for people making new claims for benefits and information for self-employed people.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions by residents. Updates from the Government and DWP are coming out daily so please be aware that things could change. 

Will you stop the eviction of anyone unable to pay their rent?

We will not evict any resident at this time due to rent arrears. If you are directly affected by the coronavirus, then we can help give advice and support on the options available. For those residents who are not affected financially, we expect rent payments to be made as normal.

Will residents be given a rent payment freeze?

As we have always done, we will look compassionately at each case on an individual basis and would urge any residents who are struggling to contact us as soon as possible to discuss their situation.

What financial help is available to cover rent payments for residents who have been laid off, have no money coming in or are on a reduced income?

We understand this is a very difficult time. The Government has announced a number of ways in which it will support people in work or out of work who have been impacted by the current crisis. Please check the DWP's information about the coronavirus and claiming benefits page regularly for updates.

Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation if you are having financial problems. We want to help you and our welfare benefit advisors are available to talk through the options.

What are the arrangements for those having to self-isolate and go on statutory sick pay?

We will continue to follow Government guidelines. If you are self-isolating and have concerns regarding finances due to receiving statutory sick pay, please contact us.

If you’re receiving benefits, the DWP has made temporary arrangements for benefit claimants affected by the coronavirus. Please check the DWP's information about coronavirus and claiming benefits page regularly for updates.

Get in touch

We are here to help and support. If you have any concerns about paying your rent due to the impact of coronavirus, please contact us as soon as possible.

  • Online – This can be done 24 hours a day by the online form at -https://www.togetherhousing.co.uk/get-in-touch/contact-us/
  • Telephone - 0300 555 5560 - lines are open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday (emergency service only outside these hours)
  • Text – RENT HELP to 66099 and one of our friendly expert advisors will contact you.

 

Friday 20 March – Move to emergency service next Monday

On Monday 23 March, Together Housing will move to provide an emergency service only to our residents.

This has been a difficult decision, however, the changes in Government guidance designed to reduce social contact mean we now need to change the way we provide services.  We realise that this will impact on our residents and are asking you to bear with us at this difficult time.

The service we will provide until further notice will include:

  • Repairs - We will carry out emergency repairs but will not be raising any new routine repairs or complete existing routine repairs already reported.  External repairs will continue as normal.

  • Safety works – We will carry out essential gas safety checks, electrical safety checks and fire safety works as normal.

  • Neighbourhood Management – We will respond to anti-social behaviour or concerns about someone’s wellbeing if they are being abused or suffering hardship.

  • Lettings – We will continue to advertise, provide viewings and sign-ups for new homes.

  • Rents – We know that many residents are worried about paying the rent.  Anybody who has rent concerns they can text RENT HELP to 66099 and one of our friendly expert advisors will be in contact.

  • Supported Housing - We will continue to have staff in our supported housing schemes to provide care and support to our residents, but will be seeking to minimise visitors by closing restaurants, guest rooms and limiting social events. We will also continue to provide our telecare service in Lancashire.

  • Keeping our blocks and estates clean – We will continue to keep our blocks and estates clean through regular cleaning of communal areas, grass cutting and caretaking services.

  • Office receptions will close to residents.

To protect both our residents and staff, we are putting in place a new way of working.  Our staff will be taking extra precautions including directly asking residents if they, or a member of their family, are self-isolating before any contact takes place. 

If residents wish to get in touch about our emergency only service this can done by:

 

Thursday 19 March - Payment of Suppliers

Together Housing Group has contingency plans in place to continue paying our suppliers as usual.

To ensure Together Housing Group can pay your invoice without any delay, all invoices MUST be sent to expenditure@togetherhousing.co.uk quoting a valid purchase order number.

 

Monday 16 March

As per the Government and Public Health England advice, Together Housing continues to provide services as normal.  These services include repairs, gas servicing and letting new homes to those in housing need.

This is a fast-moving situation and we are regularly monitoring the latest advice and guidance provided by the Government. The latest information and facts about Coronavirus can be found on the Government website - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

If we need to change the way we work, this will be guided by the expert advice of the Government and Public Health England.  The safety and security of our residents and staff remains our primary priority at this difficult time.

In common with other organisations we are already taking some sensible precautions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.  We are encouraging all our staff to wash their hands regularly and we are limiting avoidable contact between staff and residents where we can. 

We know that some residents are concerned about Together Housing staff coming into their home and we are therefore making changes in the way we operate.  These are as follows:

  • From Tuesday 17 March, we will be asking a number of safety questions regarding Coronavirus before visiting any resident’s home.  The visit might be for a repair, gas service or from any member of Together Housing staff. When necessary we will put a stop to all non-emergency visits for a period of 14 days.
  • Before any visit takes place, we will contact the resident beforehand to see if the situation has changed.  If there are concerns about Coronavirus at this point then the visit will not take place.  Together Housing will then put a stop to all non-emergency visits for a period of 14 days.
  • Emergency visits will continue to take place as and when required.

If residents wish to get in touch this can be done through the following means:

  • Telephone - 0300 555 5560 - lines are open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday (Emergency service only outside these hours).
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