Supporting our communities in these extraordinary times

We are doing everything we can to provide as wide a range of services as we can during the new national lockdown introduced on 5 January, 2021.

Woman on phone talks to customer

The tighter restrictions and the over-riding need to limit the spread of the virus are, however, impacting some of our services. Our priority, as always, is to keep customers and our staff safe.

Please remember we’re here for customers 24/7 and will do everything we can to support customers and their families through the challenges they’re facing as a result of the pandemic.

Thanks again for your patience and understanding as we work together to combat Covid-19. Please continue to check our website regularly for the latest information on our services and get in touch if you have any questions.

Here we explain how our services are currently affected.

Housing offices and staff

Our offices remain closed. Our housing, letting and factoring staff are working from home in line with government guidance. They are supporting customers daily in a wide range of ways by phone and online.

Housing officers will only be able to visit people at home in exceptional circumstances, such as where there are serious welfare concerns.

We are still here for customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, over the phone and online.

Repairs

The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority and as a result we are concentrating on carrying out essential repairs where we can do so safely.

Essential repairs are where there is a risk to the health and safety of customers and their homes. This includes things like repairing heating and lighting, sorting a persistent leak, and repairing security entry doors and controlled entry. We always take the circumstances of the household into account and if we can’t do something right now, we’ll try to explain why and make arrangements for work to be done when it is safe to do so.

Unfortunately, it’s just not possible for now to do repairs where it’s difficult for our tradespeople to socially distance. Thanks for your understanding on this.

Please be assured staff follow strictly all health-and-safety guidelines, including wearing Personal Protective Equipment – as and when appropriate – while carrying out essential repairs.

If a customer needs an essential repair, they should call us at any time or speak to a staff member.

Keeping customers safe

Annual gas safety checks are not only essential, but a legal requirement. We’re asking all customers to do all they can to ensure theirs goes ahead – when it’s arranged – at the time we’ve agreed with them.

Our programme of upgrading heat and smoke detectors in tenants’ homes is also continuing. Again, we’re asking customers to be at home at the agreed time to ensure their smoke and heat detection system is fitted to the current standard. Customers will receive a letter with an appointment, and how to rearrange it if it doesn’t suit.

Our Home and Fire Safety teams are available to give customers information and advice on keeping their home safe and secure.

Letting homes

We are continuing to let homes as before, and continuing to prioritise letting homes to people most in need, including the homeless, those living in overcrowded conditions or who need an adapted property and older people looking to move to a home with LivingWell services.

Our online housing application system, MyHousing, is available if customers want to apply for a home, update their application or note interest in available properties.

Anti-social behaviour

Our anti-social behaviour officers are working hard with housing officers and others to deal with issues that cause upset and alarm.

We take this responsibility very seriously and work closely with Police Scotland and the local authority to ensure our communities are great places to live.

If customers are affected, they should call the police on 101 and let us know too.

Environmental services

The new variant of Covid means there is a greater risk to staff working in narrow closes and stairwells, where it is more difficult to socially distance. As a result we’re having to pause our close cleaning services for safety reasons.

A mobile team will respond to urgent issues customers might have. Customers should give us a call or talk to a staff member.

Staff at our multi-storey flats will continue to clean lifts and communal areas as before, as well as carry out fire safety checks.  They will again follow all health and safety guidelines as they carry out their duties.

Wraparound services

Despite the restrictions in place, we are doing all we can to support our customers during this difficult time.

EatWell has provided over 28,000 emergency food packages to people in need in Wheatley communities since the start of the pandemic. EatWell delivered almost 15,500 Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda food vouchers in the lead-up to Christmas.

We will continue to make welfare calls to customers, and EatWell will continue to provide supermarket vouchers to vulnerable customers. Food parcels will be available for those who are unable to get out to the shops or use home delivery services.

Our Emergency Response Fund has provided almost 6000 tenants in Wheatley communities with essential household items, while our staff continue to help tenants with Universal Credit claims and support to pay their fuel bills.

Customers should speak to a member of staff if they need help.

Here to help

We are urging all customers who need help, to TALK TO US.

If customers are finding it difficult to pay rent, or need support on Universal Credit, there are many ways we can help. Our housing officers, welfare benefits and fuel advisors are calling and supporting tenants and their families every day.

Our Group Protection team offers support on everything from suicide prevention and adult and child protection to illegal money lending, hate crime and domestic abuse.

We are urging everyone to contact us through our website and by email so that we can deal with emergencies and the most vulnerable people by phone.

Monday, February 15, 2021