Our response to the update from the Housing Minister to all social housing customers


19/05/2020

This week the Housing Minister has written a letter to all social housing tenants in England to update them on the steps regarding coronavirus that the government is taking to prepare to reopen society and support social housing tenants to move on with their lives.

As your landlord, our priority is your safety and that of our colleagues. We are following government guidance and operating our services where possible in line with this.

We have put together a service update for you, based on the letter from the Housing Minister.

We will continue to keep you up to date with our service news through the dedicated coronavirus updates page on our website. On there you can find latest information, frequently asked questions as well as links to official government advice.

Service update

Maintenance and repairs

At this time we are still only attending emergency repairs – we are not carrying out routine repairs. This is to reduce the risk of infection to you and our staff.

However work is underway to prepare for resuming routine repair work in your homes as soon as possible. We will share further details with you soon, so that you can have full confidence that we have safe working practices in place.

We are not carrying out work in any household which is isolating or where an individual is in the shielded group, except in case of serious emergencies. We will assess these on a case by case basis.

External maintenance and services

Our staff are still working in communal and outdoor areas, on empty homes and on building works where they can operate safely and within guidance regarding social distancing. This is to so we can continue to deliver as much of our service as possible. All our staff have been provided with the necessary equipment and advice to ensure they do this safely without risk to themselves or you.

Gas safety checks

Gas safety checks are still going ahead. We are implementing safe working practices, and we ask you to follow the advice given by the engineer while they are working in your home.

We are not carrying out checks in any household which is isolating or where an individual is in the shielded group. We will rearrange the appointment for a later date.

For tenants seeking to move home

We are continuing to let our homes and are operating a remote sign up service. More details are available on our website.

Support for existing renters

We know this may be a worrying time for you and while there are no plans by the government to stop or suspend rent being charged, you won’t lose your home due to Covid-19 and we are offering you extra support through this period. Our Income Collection team can provide you with help and advice about your circumstances and discuss the support options available to you. Call the team on 0161 393 5353.

Wellbeing

More than 4,500 potentially vulnerable customers – including over 1600 aged 70+ - have benefitted from welfare calls from our teams. Staff have been telephoning customers directly to see if they are safe and identify if they need any help, then matching their needs with support available in the borough. If you need support, or know someone who does, call our Contact Centre on 0161 393 7117 or email servicecentre@fcho.co.uk

Our Community Impact and Independence services are continuing to support customers by telephone, and The Bread and Butter Thing affordable food service is remains operational in three locations, compliant with government safety guidelines. To find out if you’re eligible for The Bread and Butter Thing food service, please get in touch with our Contact Centre on 0161 393 7117 or email servicecentre@fcho.co.uk.

Our Directions team also continues to provide remote employment and training advice to customers whose job has been affected by Covid-19. Call the team on 0161 393 5550 or email directions@fcho.co.uk to see how they can help you.

Anti-social behaviour

We are continuing to support anyone who has concerns about antisocial behaviour during the coronavirus pandemic, and we are also continuing to make applications for injunctions and undertake possession proceedings during this time.

Please continue to report any antisocial behaviour through the MyAccount portal or by calling or emailing our Service Centre on 0161 393 7117  or servicecentre@fcho.co.uk.

To report any criminal activity contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 or online at www.gmp.police.ukIn an emergency always dial 999.

Support for victims of domestic abuse

In light of reports that incidences of domestic violence are increasing while the country is in lockdown, safeguarding our customers remains important. Our frontline teams are trained in identifying and reporting suspected domestic abuse and we are also signposting customers to local and national domestic abuse support services.

To find out more

If you have any questions about how coronavirus is affecting your tenancy with us, please get in touch with our Contact Centre. You can call us on 0161 393 7117 or email servicecentre@fcho.co.uk.