Service Updates and Advice on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

 

The health and safety of our residents, their families and our staff is our number one priority.

In response to Government guidelines following the COVID-19 outbreak, we have made some changes to how we provide services to our customers. More information about our response can be found below and on our social media channels.

Residents and their friends/family should continue to follow both the latest Government and Health Protection Scotland guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Official Government guidance for landlords and tenants can be found on the Scottish Government website.

LATEST UPDATES

  • New routine repairs can be booked through our online form. If you have an emergency repair or are unable to complete the form for any reason, you can call us on 0800 131 3348 or 0300 123 3511. Should a member of staff need to visit you, they will carry out a risk assessment beforehand, always have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need and follow social distancing guidelines. Please see our latest health and safety guidance.
     
  • With the government guidance around shielding now being eased, it is possible that we may need to enter your home to carry out a repair. We understand that if you or a member of your household is shielding, you may not yet be comfortable with this. If you are concerned, please contact us to discuss rebooking your appointment.
     
  • It is particularly important that we can contact you by email at this time so we can keep you up to date about our services and operations. You can use our sign up for important updates form to provide us with your email address.

We have resumed bookings for new routine repairs through our online form. If you have an emergency repair or are unable to complete the form for any reason, you can call 0800 131 3348 or 0300 123 3511.

We are still working through the backlog of repairs and we understand how frustrating it can be to wait for a repair to be completed. Thank you to all our residents for your ongoing patience.

By law, we must carry out an annual service and safety check of all Sanctuary gas appliances in your home, this includes boilers, cookers and fires. Gas safety checks are continuing as normal.

Our registered Gas Safe engineers may need access into your home for these checks, which take no longer than an hour. You do not need to have direct contact with anyone visiting your property to complete these checks.

Please follow sensible precautions to keep yourself safe when our staff are visiting your property, as outlined in our latest health and safety guidance.

If you are due your annual gas safety check and are self-isolating or are a shielded vulnerable patient, please let us know so we can understand how best to protect you and your family by emailing contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

Our offices remain closed to all visitors.

Housing, Homeownership and Income officers are not currently making routine appointments. We continue to be in contact with the more vulnerable in our community by phone or email. We are focused on ensuring that everyone we support, or who works for us, stays safe. Please see our latest health and safety guidance.

You can still contact us. Visit our Get in touch page for more information about how to do this.

If you live in one of our Housing for Older People schemes and are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or are worried about how the virus might affect you, please let us know via the warden call system or by calling us on 0800 917 0092 (0300 123 3599 from a mobile).

To keep everybody safe, we have put in place the following measures:

  • All communal lounges, kitchens, libraries and common rooms remain closed to both external visitors and residents.
  • All coffee mornings, communal lunches and community activities remain suspended.
  • Guest room bookings are not currently being accepted.
  • If there is a communal laundry at your scheme, you will be asked to only use this at allocated times to limit the number of residents coming into contact with each other at any one time.
  • Other than for repairs or gas safety checks, we will not be visiting you in your homes or carrying out face to face contact to limit the spread of the virus.

We are currently considering how we can safely re-open our communal rooms, community centres and shared spaces and will provide an update when we are able to do so. We will continue to keep the communal areas clean and hygienic.

We will also continue to carry out the regular checks of our buildings to ensure safety and compliance and will make regular contact with you via the warden call system or telephone.

Please do not approach staff that are on site and make sure you maintain social distancing. Please feel free to wave or say hello, and if you need any assistance please ask them to call you when they leave the site.

We are continuing to collect rent and service charges as we normally do, but it is vitally important that you let us know as soon as possible if you are struggling to pay or are worried about meeting future payments.

Wherever possible we want to avoid court action and evictions during this difficult time and we are committed to working with our customers to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account individual circumstances. We want to work with you, so please email CIT.Income@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

If you are unable to attend your benefit appointments, please let the Department for Work and Pensions know as soon as possible by reporting it on your online Universal Credit account.

Should you find yourself with no income due to the impact of coronavirus, if you do not already claim benefits, you may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit to help you pay your rent and service charges. You can find out more about Universal Credit and eligibility on the Money Advice Service website.

Customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied. This could include nominating a third party for credit top ups, having a discretionary fund added to their credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card so that their supply is not interrupted.

More broadly, any energy customer in financial distress will also be supported by their supplier, which could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.

In line with government guidance, we have resumed viewings and tenancy sign ups. However, to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we have made some changes to how we provide our services to ensure the safety of both prospective residents and our staff.

These changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Limiting the number of people that can attend viewings and sign-ups
  • We will not enter the property with you to complete a viewing or sign up, but will open the property for you, including leaving all internal doors open.
  • We will not routinely wear personal protective equipment (PPE), however we will ensure we have washed our hands in line with government guidelines or use hand sanitiser
  • We will maintain a minimum of two meters safe distance from you at all times.

When attending a viewing, please ensure that you have recently washed your hands or used hand sanitiser, observe social distancing at all times and avoid touching surfaces inside the property unless necessary.

We have begun contacting customers with existing mutual exchanges and tenancy change requests with a view to starting the process again. We are currently working through a backlog of requests and appreciate your patience while you wait for us to contact you.

If you need to make a new request for a change to your tenancy, please contact us.

More information about how to apply for a mutual exchange is available below.

Contact Us Swapping your home

As we are spending more time together in our homes, you may be more aware of noise levels from your neighbours, such as general household noise and children playing.

Please try to be tolerant of this and consider the impact your household noise levels and behaviour may have on your neighbours.

If you are experiencing repeated issues of antisocial behaviour you can report it to us by emailing contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

If you are threatened with violence or are concerned for the safety of yourself or others, please call the police immediately on 999.

We will continue to manage existing antisocial behaviour cases through your preferred method of communication, providing regular updates, signposting you to helpful support networks and discussing further action where appropriate.

Although lockdown restrictions are being eased, you may still be spending a lot of time at home and this could mean a pressured situation could get worse.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police.

Further information

What is domestic abuse and finding support

It’s understandable that not only our residents, but communities everywhere continued to be worried about how their lives will be affected by Covid-19.

The Government has provided guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and how we can all work together to protect older people and vulnerable adults.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, try talking to your family and friends and sharing how you feel. If you are worried that you may need more help, the following support is available:

The Mental Health Foundation has useful information on how to look after your mental health and it can be found on their dedicated website page.

Free 24-hour listening support

Samaritans is available to listen at any time of the day or night. You can talk to them about anything that's troubling you, no matter how difficult.

Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

Shout offers confidential 24/7 crisis text support for times when you need immediate assistance.

Text "SHOUT" to 85258 or visit Shout Crisis Text Line.

In a life-threatening emergency, you should dial 999.