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Your wellbeing is our priority and Southern Housing Group is committed to ensuring our essential services remain in place during these unprecedented times.
You will be aware of the current national emergency that has been declared by the government in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus, commonly called Covid-19 is causing a serious health crisis. It is also badly affecting the global economy. The combination of these two factors means that everyone will feel the effects.
On Monday 23 March the UK government introduced new measures to help slow down the spread of the virus and protect vulnerable people and the NHS. These new rules apply to all of us and it is vital that we all follow the instructions as this will help save lives.
The Group began taking steps several weeks ago to ensure that our teams were ready in case the Covid-19 situation became worse. Everyone at the Group, from the chief executive to our frontline staff, is committed to providing as much help and support for our residents as possible, while still ensuring that we do not add to the risk of spreading the virus.
There are several steps we have taken considering the government advice.
Our customer call centre remains open and we are taking your calls. Along with our other office-based staff, they are now working remotely and are currently keeping to the core hours of 8-6pm. We will keep this service under review and let you know of any changes.
Non-essential planned maintenance and repairs have been paused to ensure both residents and staff are protected. If there is planned maintenance works for your building or estate, we will let you know as soon as we have an update. Some external work, where this does not require entry into a home may be able to continue.
Our teams of contractors, who carry out most of our repairs, will now be focused on emergency repairs only such as restoring heating or water supply. If an emergency repair needs to be carried out in your home, our contractor will contact you in advance.
For now, gas servicing will continue as normal and again, if this is planned for your home over the next few weeks a pre-appointment check should be made with you before anyone enters your home.
If you are self isolating, please let us know as soon as possible so we can tailor our service to your needs.
Click here to view Estate Care's Coronavirus status update poster
Southern Housing Group’s Estate Care Service will continue to provide essential services to our estates. This includes cleaning of touch points and services around refuse collection which are vital to keeping our estates clean.
We will see some impact on other services such as gardening while we adjust and simply ask for your understanding at this challenging time for everyone.
The Group has set aside a £250,000 fund to help support residents who are vulnerable and do not have a support network to access basic food and provisions. More details of how to nominate people for this will follow on shortly.
We also have members of staff that have volunteered for extra duties across the Group to specifically help those in need or isolation, whether that be a daily phone call or to run an errand for them (subject to following all guidelines effectively).
Your health and safety are our top priority. Members of our senior team are meeting daily to monitor the coronavirus situation and make plans for how we adapt our service.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your rent, please get in contact with us early so that we can help. Southern Housing Group promises that anyone who falls behind on their rent as a result of this crisis will not lose their home as a result.
If you are worried about your ability to pay your rent or have a change in circumstances then please contact our Customer Accounts Team for help and advice on 01403 220440
We’ve also provided some helpful website links below, about accessing benefits, which you might find useful. If you need help setting up a Universal Credit claim, take a look at “Universal Credit in Action”, which explains the Universal Credit’s online services.
Please click here to read Sheltered Frequently Asked Questions
As you may be aware the Government announced on 16/3/20 that people over the age of 70 and those with certain health conditions should be prepared to distance themselves for others for a period of 12 weeks. We think this may start fairly soon.
We understand that this will be a stressful situation for many of you and we want to make sure that we can continue provide you with a service while protecting your health and keeping you safe.
What we are doing
With effect from Monday 23 March we will be introducing a telephone service for all residents in our sheltered schemes which will enable you to contact your Sheltered Scheme Coordinator (SSC), or the SSC covering your scheme, at any time during their normal working day.
They will give every resident who has a telephone a call once a day to check on your welfare even if they do not do so normally. The Group already has your number so that we can do this. They will also keep in touch with our cleaning and gardening teams at the schemes and Appello (formerly Medvivo), our Careline service.
You will also be able to contact your SSC by phone and their number is at the end of this letter together with the number of our Service Centre who will be able to get a message to someone who can help you if your SSC is busy.
By ringing your SSC you will be able to get help and advice with:
If you do not have a phone and no friends and family living locally please let you SSC know so that we can work out how best to support you.
In addition to the cleaning staff who will continue to visit your scheme we are aiming that one of our SSC’s will be at your scheme at least once a week to make sure that the building and our residents are safe.
The number for Appello remains the same. If it is not an emergency please ring Appello, your SSC or your friends and family rather than use the alarm system as due to increased volumes it may take Appello longer to answer alarm calls than normal.
Other steps Southern Housing Group is taking
To further minimise the risk to residents Southern Housing Group are taking the following additional steps with immediate effect:
You can assist with our efforts to stop the spread of any infection by asking your visitors to wash their hands, and to ask them to stay away if they show any symptoms associated with Coronavirus
We appreciate your patience and understanding. We will do our best to keep you informed by updating this website and contacting you directly if this is needed.
Southern Housing Group has always believed in its social purpose. We are confident that, throughout this emergency, we can continue to support you and your community
Covid Mutual Aid - https://covidmutualaid.org/
Covid Mutual Aid UK is a group of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK. They focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need.
Access to benefits
These websites also have lots of other videos that might be useful for people.
Shelter – Discretionary Housing Payment, a way to help pay your rent (DHP)
Citizens Advice - Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Universal Credit in Action – Overview of Universal Credit
Turn2Us - Benefits and Coronavirus
Additionally our Community Investment team have a range of services to help you with your finances – including advice on how to access or claim benefits, which you can read about by clicking here.
Due to the impact of Coronavirus, the team are currently operating at a reduced service. If you’d like to get in touch, for any non-urgent enquiries, please email email@example.com and we’ll respond as soon as we’re able to.
If your enquiry is urgent, you can call the team on 0300 020 0549. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Find out how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Learn more at nhs.uk/coronavirus