We’ve written to all residents to update you about our services during the current lockdown. You can see a copy of the information sent below.
Letters are scheduled to arrive during the week commencing 11 January. We’ve tried to give you an update on all key services, please don’t hesitate to contact us if there’s something we haven’t covered or if you have queries about any of the information in the letter.
I wish you and your family a safe and healthy New Year.
You’ll be aware that England is again under national lockdown and the Government have instructed us all to ‘Stay at Home’. The full guidance can be found on the Government’s website (www.gov.uk/coronavirus).
Our priority, as always, is the safety and wellbeing of our residents, staff and communities. Sadly, we now know that the new variant of the Covid virus is very infectious, and that infection rates remain high across our operational areas in Kent and East Sussex. We’re writing to update you about our services during the lockdown period.
Help with financial issues
The coronavirus pandemic is impacting everyone, and many people’s work, family and income circumstances are affected. We recognise that some of our residents will be placed in serious financial difficulties because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
We believe that no one should lose their home because of coronavirus and want to support anyone having difficulty with rent payments. If you’re worried about paying your rent or other charges, we can offer you money support advice including help with claiming benefits. We know many people’s work situation has changed and we can also offer access to employment and training support through our Community Investment Team.
If you usually pay your rent at the Post Office or a PayPoint outlet but are worried about going out at present, don’t forget that there are options to make payments through MyHomeOnline or by phone, which might be helpful for you. (please note MyHomeOnline is not yet available for leaseholders and shared owners).
Help with getting online
Lots of services and support are only available online at the moment. We may be able to help you with access to equipment, Wi-Fi or training, please call us on 01892 501480 to discuss.
Help with wellbeing
Our Sustainment team can help with any support issues that may be affecting your wellbeing or your tenancy.
There are self-referral forms for all the above services on our website (www.tch.org.uk) or call 01892 501480 or contact us through MyHomeOnline
You can also get support from your local authority via Kent Together on 03000 419292 or at www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/protect-kent-and-medway/help-and-advice-for-residents/kent-together
During the coronavirus restrictions we’ve been phoning residents who may need some extra support during this period. We’ve been able to refer residents to a wide variety of support and advice, available through statutory and voluntary agencies in their communities. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from a phone call or a referral for support with issues like isolation or lack of access to shopping, prescriptions and other services during the lockdown please get in touch on 01892 501785.
We want to meet our repair obligations while keeping to government guidance. Our aim is to limit the spread of the virus, protect our residents, staff, contractors and wider communities and balance the available staff resources.
So, at the moment we’ll continue to carry out:
Emergency repairs – where there is a danger to life, a safety hazard, or the potential for more damage to occur to the property. It’s also an emergency if a property is not secure or if it’s not windproof and watertight.
Some examples of emergency repairs are:
- sewage overflowing into a home
- burst storage tanks, cylinders or pipes
- failure of heating systems in severe weather and where no alternative is available
Urgent repairs – works that are needed to prevent a repair issue becoming an emergency or if your comfort or convenience has been severely compromised by a fault occurring.
Some examples of urgent works are:
- faults affecting the cold and hot water provision
- leaks in WC flush pipes, waste pipes, traps, valves or radiators
- sewers or drain blockages
External works – These are works like roofing and fencing repairs where the worker doesn’t need to enter your home or communal areas
Gas and Electric checks – These will continue, as we have a legal responsibility to carry out these checks, even during the Covid-19 crisis.
More information about all repair types is available on our website, or please call us if you think your repair issue falls into any of the above categories.
We’ll keep appointments that have already been booked if our staffing levels allow.
Residents’ individual circumstances will also be taken into account when assessing the timescale for completing a repair.
Repairs and replacement programmes that don’t fall into any of the above categories will be scheduled from 1st April 2021 onwards.
We’re in a fast-changing world and we may need to adjust our service offer to respond to changing government and scientific advice, workforce sickness levels, and the availability of materials. So, we’ll review the situation weekly and any changes will be posted on our website – www.tchg.org.uk. If you’re a leaseholder or shared owner your repairs responsibilities may be different and will be outlined in your lease. The Love Living Homes website https://lovelivinghomes.co.uk/ also gives lots of useful information.
We do understand that people are anxious about allowing workers into their homes at the moment. We’ll only make appointments for works or checks that are urgent or essential; but we do need you to allow us to do these essential works please.
When you call us to report an emergency repair, we’ll discuss visit procedures to keep everyone as safe as possible. Our workers continue to follow all government guidance, please ensure you’re aware of the guidance and follow it too. This includes hands, space, face and adequately ventilating your home. We won’t be able to carry out works if the guidance isn’t being followed.
You must tell us please if anyone in your household is unwell or shielding or has been told to self-isolate.
Lettings and mutual exchanges are still permitted under this national lockdown. TCH has virtual lettings processes in place to minimise the risk of the spread of coronavirus. We’re only letting properties if people are comfortable about moving to a new home during the current restrictions and agree that they do so at their own risk. If you’re thinking about moving, please read the government guidance carefully and decide if it’s safe for you to do so. As well as reinforcing the hands, face, space message the guidance is very clear about not getting help with moving from anyone who’s not in your household bubble, unless it’s absolutely essential. However, you are allowed to use a removal company.
We’re getting lots of calls about antisocial behaviour and noise nuisance. We understand that these continue to be really difficult times for everyone and ask please for your continued tolerance and understanding. As everyone’s being asked to stay at home there will be more day to day household noise than might usually be heard, but please be considerate of your neighbours and avoid doing anything that might disturb them.
Please report issues if you think someone is breaking their tenancy agreement or you feel someone in your community could be at risk, or in need of help or support. If you feel there is an immediate serious risk, please call 999. Other criminal issues should also be reported to the police on 101. Our website gives details about how we can help and other agencies that can support you, or please phone us for advice.
Unfortunately, domestic abuse is affecting a growing number of people during the pandemic. There’s lots of information about help and support on our website. If in immediate danger call 999 and, if it’s not safe to talk, dial 55 when prompted.
Covid restriction breaches
Please remember that TCH has no powers to enforce the government’s coronavirus restrictions and if you feel these are being broken this is a police matter. To report a breach please call 101 or visit the police website www.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/c19/v7/tell-us-about-a-possible-breach-of-coronavirus-covid-19-measures/
To ensure potential health and safety risks are minimised, we continue to provide cleaning and caretaking services as usual where possible. However, services may vary at present from those outlined in your service charges. Any changes will be reflected in the actual service charge accounts when these are published in September 2021. If you see any of our staff or contractors out on site, please be mindful of everyone’s safety, maintain social distancing and don’t approach anyone working on behalf of TCH.
Please try to keep use of all communal areas to a minimum and observe the hands, face, space guidance at all times. Please also ensure that nothing is left or stored in communal areas, items found in communal areas will be moved with immediate effect by our contractors to ensure there is no breach of fire safety regulations. Please use bin stores and areas properly and keep storage on balconies reasonable, in order to prevent potential fire risks. Any communal areas that are currently closed will remain so until further notice.
All our current service delivery methods aim to keep everyone as safe as possible and to try to stop the spread of the virus. Because we’re not able to carry out most visits at present some services may take longer than usual to deliver. Thank you for your understanding and for working with us to help reduce risks.
Full information about all our services can be found on our websites: www.tch.org.uk or https://lovelivinghomes.co.uk/ for leaseholders and shared owners. We will continually review the situation with all service areas and update the websites with any new information.
We also send out regular email newsletters with service updates and other useful information – if you’d like to be added to the circulation list please let us know.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding while we respond to this ongoing and challenging situation.
Please stay safe and well.