Community

Coronavirus – Advice for our residents

Coronavirus – Advice for our residents

UPDATED: 17 September 2020

With a spike of coronavirus cases nation-wide, on 09 September the Government announced new guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Your safety and the safety of our employees remains our priority.

While we have been working to re-establish the full range of our services, we continue to monitor Government guidelines and local restrictions and may have to make adjustments to our services accordingly.   We will update you in due course as soon as any of our services are affected.  Should the current arrangements change, it may mean that we will not achieve our usual service standards. We wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

For more information, please see the Group’s Coronavirus Position Statement here.

On 23 March 2020, the Government announced a lockdown with travel to and from work only if absolutely necessary because of the coronavirus. Our offices closed on 24 March 2020.  On 16 April 2020 the Government extended the lockdown by three weeks and whilst there have been other relaxations of the lockdown since, the message from the Government remains to work from home where possible. The extra restirctions placed on Greater Manchester apply mainly to social gatherings and therefore haven’t impacted our services.

All our employees have been asked to stay at home unless they:

  • are site‐based and work in supported or extra care schemes;
  • undertake fire safety, electrical checks or gas servicing in general needs properties;
  • undertake void works or carry out emergency repairs;
  • are unable to work effectively from home and safe-working in an office can be facilitated.

Your safety and the safety of our employees remains our priority.  As we are working to re-establish the full range of our services, we may still not achieve our usual service standards. We wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Repairs service

From 18 May 2020, and as an extension to the ‘emergency plus’ service, we started undertaking all urgent repairs. From 22 June 2020, we recommence taking routine repair requests from tenants, making appointments from the end of June to allow time to mobilise.  Where it is safe to do so, we are also undertaking external repairs that do not require our technicians to enter the property.

Our call centre staff are equipped to work from home and receive calls from residents making inbound calls.

When requesting a repair please advise us if you or anybody in household is shielding / vulnerable etc. In households where someone is isolating due to having COVID – 19 symptoms or has been advised to shield we will only carry out repairs to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household. In these cases our operative will wear PPE including face mask and gloves.

What to expect when we attend a repair or maintenance appointment:

  • Upon arrival our operative will display their official identification but a distance of at least 2 metres.
  • They will ask you to confirm that everyone in the house is currently feeling well
  • Please ensure that you and other members of your household maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres from the operative at all times. If this can’t be achieved the repair may not be able to be completed.
  • Please ensure that children and pets are removed from the area of repair.
  • Please open doors and windows in the area of repair if possible.
  • Please do not offer our operative tea, coffee or other refreshments.
  • Please do not hand or pass anything to the operative.
  • You may notice that our operative washes their hands more than you might normally expect. Don’t be alarmed, this is in line with current Government guidelines.
  • You may notice that our operative washes or wipes down an object or surface before handling, again don’t be alarmed, this is in line with current Government guidelines.
  • If our operative needs to discuss aspects of the repair with you they may ask to speak to you outside of the property.
  • If your repair requires more than one visit we will send the same operative where this is achievable.
  • For most routine tasks (where none of the household has symptoms of COVID – 19 or is shielding) our operatives are not required to wear face masks, again this is in line with current Government workplace guidelines.

Gas and electrical safety checks

Following the Government’s advice our gas and electrical safety checks are continuing and we will contact you to make an appointment if your home is due a visit.  We understand that many of our residents may be anxious of allowing our engineers to enter their homes during the pandemic, however, we can assure you that these essential checks are to ensure the continued safety of you and your family. Our operatives will only be required to enter rooms where your appliances are present and will ensure social distance is maintained at all times.

Rent payment and money advice

If you have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak and are struggling to pay your rent, we’re here to help. Please call our Connect contact service, who can arrange for you to speak to our expert money advice team.  If you are one of our customers who pays their own rent, you can also expect to receive a call from a member of our team to discuss rent payment.

This includes setting up new payment methods for cash payers who are self‐isolating, accepting lower payments when a tenant is unsure of their future income, issuing foodbank vouchers, signposting to debt advice, completing grant applications and making further referrals for food provision to local private and volunteer agencies.

If you’re claiming benefits or need information about a new claim because of coronavirus, we have updated our welfare reform page with FAQs based on government advice. https://www.aksahomes.co.uk/information-article/changes-to-your-benefits-welfare-reform

Further information can be found at the following pages:

If you haven’t already, we would encourage you to register for our online services.

Anti-social behaviour

Our tenancy safety team can be contacted, via Connect, to discuss any problems with nuisance or noise that you may be experiencing.

Independent Living and Supported Housing Schemes

We carried out a business‐wide review of all our independent living and supported schemes to increase cleaning regimes in line with government guidance. We have provided advice to residents on how to protect themselves through proper hygiene.  We have liaised with the care teams who work in our buildings and commissioned by local authorities to ensure continued care provision to our residents.  We have closed communal lounges, taped off communal areas that cannot be secured and closed lavatories that are normally accessible to all residents and visitors. We have also asked residents to observe social distancing guidelines and not to invite external visitors into their schemes, although this is not something we can enforce as we have no legal powers to do so and our schemes are not staffed 24/7.

Void works

Where it is possible to do so safely, our operatives will be working on refurbishing our current empty homes to enable them to be ready for when new tenants are able to move in. 

Lettings

We continued to let newly built properties handed over by developers from the beginning of the pandemic and worked with local authority homelessness services to let properties to those in greatest need.

In May we commenced letting all properties in the general needs category with a new digital letting process that maintains social distancing between employees and incoming tenants. We will work with you in the best way possible, while adhering to the latest measures in place on safe distancing to help stop the spread of the virus.

Neighbourhood activities

All our events across the neighbourhoods where we work, are cancelled with immediate effect. Please check our website for future updates on Neighbourhood activity. We wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Grounds Maintenance

Following the Government’s advice on social distancing, we have made some changes to the way we carry out grounds maintenance during the current coronavirus (Covid-19) situation.  As always, our main priority is the health and wellbeing of our customers and staff.

We reintroduced our grounds maintenance service in May. We have made some temporary changes to the way we carry out grounds maintenance. In the short term this means that we will focus on grass cutting and when it is possible our staff will spend more time on site to ensure the grounds are brought back up to the usual high
standard.

Offices and Customer Hubs

We are pleased to announce that we have put the necessary measures in place to start welcoming our customers safely back to our hubs.

From 14 September 2020, our customer hubs are reopening on an appointment only basis.  You will need to ring us to make an appointment on 0161 331 2000 or 0300 011 1144.

Our customer hubs are now based at:

  • 12 – 14 Clarendon Street, Hyde, SK14 2EL
  • Cavendish 249, Cavendish Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 7AT.  This has been relocated from the Henrietta site (opposite IKEA).

The appointment times will be:

Hyde            Monday to Friday   between 9:30am to 1:30pm

Ashton         Monday to Friday   between 9:30am to 3:30pm

We look forward to seeing you again.

We use cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with this.