As we begin another week dealing with this ongoing and ever-changing crisis, it’s clear that we need to be taking the latest government advice very seriously. On Monday 23rd March, the Prime Minister gave a briefing where he put in place a strict ‘stay at home’ policy.
In response to this, we have reviewed the services we can continue to provide and have no choice but to reduce to a minimum service of emergency and frontline services, to ensure that you, your families, your homes and our staff are as safe as possible. By doing this we can limit the spread of coronavirus and we can lessen the burden on the NHS during these extremely challenging times.
We know that these are very difficult times, but we hope that you understand that our staff are working hard to ensure you the best possible services during this time.
From now on, we will only be providing the following absolutely essential services:
- Emergency repairs only (find more information here)
- Communal cleaning in our Independent Living schemes
- Gas servicing
- Critical fire remedial works
However, we will continue to provide the following services digitally or over the telephone:
- Rent collection and debt/benefit advice
- Frequent calls with Independent Living customers
- Welfare checks via phone of other vulnerable customers living in general needs
Any other services that require face-to-face contact or usually require us to work outside (i.e. estates services) will not be taking place until further notice. This includes the communal cleaning in blocks in our general need properties. For those that currently are charged for these services (grass cutting and cleaning) will be given a credit on your account refunding you for those services we cannot deliver. At this time we are not sure how long we will be in this position and therefore this credit will be given once these services are resumed as normal.
We also want to reassure you that no one will lose their Greatwell Homes tenancy because of the coronavirus. We understand and appreciate that many families and households are extremely concerned about their financial security and the ability to pay their rent due to lost and reduced earnings as a result of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). You can find out more information on how we can assist you here.
Annual Landlords Gas Safety check
Many of our customers have asked why we are continuing to carry out this service during the COVID-19 outbreak.
As a responsible landlord we have a duty of care to our customers and gas safety is of the utmost importance to ensure that your safety and well being are always maintained. Therefore, it is essential that we continue to carry out the gas safety checks.
The HSE have stated that: “Landlords have a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check.
All our staff have been issued with the relevant personal protective equipment as advised by the HSE.
We respectfully ask for your assistance in allowing us entry into your home, to ensure that our customers are kept safe and well during this very unusual situation.
You can find further information here.
Our Independent Living Customers
In line with the advice given on Monday, for the safety of both our customers and staff, face-to-face visits to our Independent Living customers will not be happening for the foreseeable future. All customers, however, living in our Independent Living schemes, no matter what level of care they usually receive, will receive via a telephone call three welfare checks a week during this time.
We know that not having face-to-face visits isn’t ideal but limiting the spread of coronavirus at this time is critical. What we want to do is to only charge a flat rate fee of £10 a week during this time whilst we are only operating a telephone call only service.
We will write to all our customers in our Independent Living schemes separately explaining this in more detail.
Complaints regarding to coronavirus (COVID-19)
We hope that you understand that all decisions that we are making at this time are in response to the Government and Public Health instructions and that we are operating in the best interest of our customers and employees.
That is why – whilst we appreciate all feedback from our customers – we will not be dealing with complaints around the lack of services and decisions made in response to the coronavirus and we will not be taking these through our usual complaints procedure.
You can find the Government’s advice and response to the Coronavirus outbreak here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.