Coronavirus statement from believe housing Chief Executive, Bill Fullen

coronavirus statement from Bill Fullen

26 March 2020 - Latest news, director’s blog, Coronavirus

coronavirus – a message to you from Bill Fullen, Chief Executive. 

As the coronavirus (also known as Covid-19) pandemic develops we want to assure you that the health, safety and well-being of our tenants, residents, customers and staff is an absolute priority for us.

First and foremost, please follow the government’s advice, which and can be found on Advice is also provided through a government media campaign, so listen out for any new developments.

As a service provider we need to make some temporary changes to the way we do things in order to adhere to the advice on limiting social contact as much as possible. These changes will, understandably, bring some limitations to normal service delivery but are designed to ensure that we keep you, your home and our staff safe, so that we can be there when you need us. They are designed in accordance with government advice, particularly in relation to limiting social contact.

We know you will have concerns, so hopefully the following questions and answers on what has been put in place and what you can expect from us during this difficult time will help. However, this is our approach at this current time. And, as things are changing constantly in response to government advice, I would ask you to also check our website regularly for the most up-to-date information.

Will our offices still be open?

All our offices are now closed to the public.

Our customer contact centre will operate as normal, so please either ring 0300 1311 999 or contact us online if you need to report something or require any information or help.

We are experiencing a significant increase in phone calls at the current time so please bear with us if it takes longer than usual to answer your call.

What will happen with the repairs service?

We are focused on maintaining this critical service. Our repairs service will be limited to essential repairs only, which are emergency repairs or repairs that might turn into emergencies if we don’t fix them.

Emergency repairs are any defects that put the health, safety or security of properties, customers or anyone else at immediate risk.

We will not be carrying out any non-essential repairs and I would ask that at the current time you do not register any of these repairs – this will enable our contact centre employees to focus on dealing with the most important calls.

We will resume the full repairs service to our tenants as soon as possible, but at this time I’m sure you will understand that I am unable to say when this will be.

What if my gas boiler is due to be serviced?

Making sure gas boilers are safe is a legal requirement and extremely important to safeguard tenants. Therefore, we aim to carry on where possible with our servicing programme while attempting to operate within the current advice from government.

We will need access to your home to do this so please continue to let us in and be assured that we have taken every precaution to ensure our staff can work safely in your home.

If this applies to you, we will be contacting you separately to discuss options with you.

I’m due to have improvements done to my home, will these still go ahead?

All planned improvement works will be delayed until further notice. We’ll let you know in due course when these can go ahead.

Any improvement works currently on site will be suspended by Friday, 27 March 2020.

We will ensure that by the end of this week any internal works are completed up to the point where they are serviceable. We aim to leave homes safe, clean and tidy, but we are unable however to carry out any decoration works at this time.

What happens if my income is reduced and I am unable to pay my rent?

We recognise the impacts of coronavirus are far reaching and people may be affected financially.

If you face such circumstances, please get in touch with us as soon as possible. You may be entitled to help towards your rent or may need some advice on what can be done to help manage your payments. The important thing is that you keep us informed. We are here to help on 0300 1311 999.

If you are unable to get out to pay your rent, we offer a range of payment options. Please get in touch and we can talk to you about these.

We will work with you to ensure that you are able to stay in your home. We will not evict anyone who is unable to pay their rent as a direct result of the coronavirus. But, please get in touch with us if this applies to you.

What if I am self-isolating or have any symptoms related to coronavirus? 

If you are please let us know and we can talk to you about how we can continue to deliver services to you whilst reducing the need for any physical contact.

What happens next?

It is extremely difficult to predict how coronavirus will develop and what the effects will be on the services that we provide to you.

We are monitoring the government’s daily announcements and our aim is to make sure that we stick to their advice particularly over the next few weeks.

Should there be any further impact on our service delivery we will let you know – and please check our social media platforms and coronavirus information page for updates.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any extra support. We are here to help you. We thank you for your patience and cooperation while we work through these difficult times and hope you take care and stay well.

Our aim is to continue to deliver essential services while keeping you, your family and our employees safe.

Please continue to follow the government’s advice and stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

Bill Fullen

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