Our priority during the coronavirus outbreak is keeping people safe and protecting essential services.
Everywhere we look there is evidence that the coronavirus epidemic is forcing huge change – shortages in shops, people avoiding shaking hands, major events being cancelled and many people working from home.
It is likely that many people will become ill – although most will fully recover – and most of us are being advised to reduce contact to limit the spread of the virus. This inevitably means that our services will be affected although we will be doing everything we can to help our customers and keep the most important services running.
Our primary aim is to keep essential services running – particularly emergency repairs in your home. We will prioritise those who are vulnerable – so older people or households with young children or those with a disability – so please do let us know if this applies to you. Don’t be offended if we ask questions ahead of your repair to check whether you or any member of your family is self-isolating or is unwell – this just helps us to keep you and our teams safe.
We are working with our main repairs contractors to ensure that we can respond to all emergency repairs and keep some urgent repairs services for as long as we can.
Our contractors and their engineers will also have less people available (due to illness) so please do try to help us and your community by being at home once you have reported an emergency repair and not reporting things as an emergency unless they really are.
As a reminder, an emergency repair is something that presents an immediate and serious risk to safety or health or an immediate and serious risk to the fabric of your home. This includes :-
- a total loss of power
- a total loss of heat when you have no other source of heating
- a total loss of hot water when you have no other source of hot water
- failure of your only WC
- a major leak or a leak that affects your electrical installation
- a main entrance door or ground floor window that cannot be secured
Our emergency service will make the situation safe – which doesn’t always mean that the repair will be completed. For example, an insecure window may be boarded but won’t be immediately replaced – making the situation safe. We may provide alternative sources of heating if we are unable to fix your boiler.
It is likely to take us longer than usual to attend to non-emergency repairs due to the availability of labour and parts and we expect to have to reduce to an ’emergency only’ service quite soon. Please be patient with our staff and contractors as they will be doing their best for you during a difficult time.
Managing the Risk of Spread of Virus
We want to make sure that our customers, staff and contractors are safe and do not inadvertently spread the virus. Measures that we will take will include:-
- staff will ask whether or not anyone in your home is self isolating or showing symptoms
- if you are self-isolating or are showing symptoms, we will only do emergency repairs – and will talk to you about how we can come back to do non urgent work after the illness period has passed
- if your repair is an emergency, we will need to make careful arrangements to keep our contractors safe – this may include any affected person being in another room for the duration of the repair and our operative will wear personal protective clothing such as a mask and gloves
- If we can’t get your emergency repair done for any reason, we will talk to you about how to resolve the issue on a ‘case by case’ basis – so that everyone can stay safe. We will need your help to make things work
- our staff and contractors will reserve the right to leave your home if they feel they may be at risk of infection
Paying Your Rent or Service Charges
We recognise that some of our customers may lose work or pay during this time – particularly if there are enforced closures or if you or your family become ill.
If you are affected or are just worried, PLEASE CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY We know that these are extraordinary times and that much of this is beyond your control. We want to offer practical help and reassurance – so do talk to us quickly. Please don’t worry alone!
Keeping Yourself Safe
There are some simple tips for protecting yourself and those around you from coronavirus
- wash your hands with soap and water often – for at least 20 seconds each time
- wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if you don’t have access to soap and water
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve if you cough or sneeze
- throw the tissue away straight away and then wash your hands
- try to avoid close contact with people – especially if they are unwell
- touch your eyes, nose or mouth if you have not washed your hands
- visit vulnerable people unless it is really essential – older people and those with existing medical problems
In line with government guidance, our teams are no longer working from our office but are working from home to avoid spreading the virus. This is new for us so please bear with us while we iron our the bumps! We may have more limited access to your historic records and phones may take a little longer to be answered as we transfer to mobile units. We will have more information on the website every day and things will settle within a week or so.
If your issue is not immediately urgent, please email us. You can get the details of your Housing Officer or Client Services Officer on our website or you can always contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or via our main number 03333 21 30 30.