Frequently asked questions
We are facing the biggest national health crisis in all our lifetimes and in the days and weeks ahead it is imperative that we keep ourselves and each other safe. Understandably the landscape continues to change and it is important Housing 21 continues to respond to these changes and guidelines from the government.
Key information on how our services are operating is available in the questions and answers below.
Q: I am unwell and/or self-isolating. What should I do?
A: In line with the latest government advice, any resident showing signs of a new persistent cough or fever should self-isolate at home.
Those with symptoms and living alone should remain in their home for ten days after the onset of their symptoms. If you live with others and you or the other member of your household has symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, then all members of the household should stay at home and not leave your flat for 14 days. If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials, other than exercise, and in that case keep a safe distance from others. The 14 day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill.
If you have contracted coronavirus or are self-isolating, please let your Court Manager know by telephone so appropriate arrangements can be made if any staff need to enter your property.
Q: I am self-isolating – how do I ensure I maintain adequate supplies of groceries and medication?
A: We suggest that you consider getting an adequate supply of food and other essentials in place and medication where needed. If you do not have family or friends to help then the Court Manager can help you with information on local companies that deliver groceries or prescriptions.
If you are defined as one of those extremely vulnerable by the Government, you can register for additional support via this link.
Q: I am over 70 / have a pre-existing health condition. How does this affect me?
A: If you are 70 or over or have an existing health condition, the Government has released guidance on shielding and protecting yourself as one of those defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Q: What do I do if my Court Manager is not on-site?
A: There will no doubt be occasions in the coming weeks and months when the manager of the scheme may not be immediately available. We will endeavour to keep you updated on the presence of Housing 21 staff in the schemes at all times, however, if you need help and you manager is not on site, you should contact Appello in the case of an emergency, or your Court Manager’s usual telephone number:
- Out of hours and in an emergency – contact Appello Careline using the call system or by phoning 0333 321 6450. Careline will deal with emergency calls and will ask you to contact the Court Manager during working hours for anything else.
- During working hours, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm; for an enquiry or to report a repair - telephone the Court Manager using their usual telephone number. If you don’t have this, please use the property search feature on our website to search for your court’s webpage. At the bottom of this webpage, you will find the number for your court. You should also be able to find it in a letter to you dated 24 March 2020.
If the manager is unavailable, they will divert the telephone so it is answered either by them (if working from home), or by another Housing 21 Manager. If within working hours there is still no answer, please contact the Regional Manager, whose details are also included in the letter.
Q: How can I be sure that a member of staff or a contractor is not infected with coronavirus if they visit my home?
A: We are ensuring that our staff and contractors have all of the latest information and guidance. Our employees and our contractors are following this guidance in the same way that everyone has been asked to and will take action to protect you as customers and themselves. If Housing 21 staff show symptoms of a persistent cough or fever they will be asked to self-isolate at home. We have also paused all non-essential travel between courts and offices.
Q: I have reduced income as a result of the pandemic (e.g. if you are not being paid) and I may struggle to pay rent. What should I do?
A: If you are in any financial difficulty, please highlight this to your Court Manager who will be able to advise the best course of action.
Q: What impact will this have on my communal lounge?
A: From 1 August, the government is pausing shielding unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly. This means from 1 August we will be able to welcome invited guests of residents (family and friends) into the communal areas and restaurants our schemes. However, we where have schemes which are under local lockdowns, we will not be able to welcome any visitors. These restaurants at these schemes will be open for residents only, and salons can remain open for residents with the current restrictions in place.
Where schemes are not under any local lockdowns, and are able to welcome visitors to communal areas, social distancing should take place, with individuals staying 2m apart. All visitors, including invited guests, must wear face masks. This is to protect our residents and each other. Residents should wear face coverings when visiting the salon or shop within our schemes.
Q: My court has other facilities normally open to the public such as a restaurant, hair salon and day centre, what will happen to these?
A: Salons and restaurants in our courts are now open, where there are no local lockdowns in place. Where have schemes which are under local lockdowns, The restaurants at these schemes will be open for residents only, and salons can remain open for residents with the current restrictions in place.
Q: There is a day centre operating at my scheme – will this still be open?
A: We have notified Local Authorities we are closing down all day centres that operate within the schemes. Although this will entail wider communication from local authorities to those that use the day centres, we are requesting these are closed as soon as possible.
Q: How do I continue to use the laundry room at my court?
A: Laundries will remain open. However, it is imperative that residents who do use the laundries maintain social distancing of two metres (six feet six inches) from each other at all times. If we find that social distancing is not being maintained then we will introduce a rota to every court and consider closing the laundry.
Q: There is a guest room at my court, will this still be in use?
A: In order to reduce further the number of people visiting our courts and to ensure that resources are not diverted, we will no longer be welcoming visitors to the guest rooms. The Court Manager will not take new bookings and will contact existing bookings to cancel. Please discuss this with your Court Manager if you think that the circumstances are exceptional.
Our cleaners will be asked to keep working and will be focusing their attention on areas with greatest traffic such as entrances, corridors and laundries. Please respect them by ensuring you maintain social distancing of two metres.
Q: Are there any effects on repairs?
A: Maintaining the safety of our properties and buildings is a critical service, and routine servicing, repairs and checks are expected to continue. Contractors will follow government advice ensuring they maintain a social distance of 2 metres from any residents or staff on site.
We will continue to service and maintain all equipment in the communal areas, such as lifts, fire alarms, and communal boilers. We will also continue to service gas appliances, gas and heat detectors if they are within your property. External and communal works have been prioritised for the year to minimise the need for contractors to go into residents’ flats. However, works on heating replacement, installing digital call systems and re-fitting kitchens and bathrooms will require access to flats.
Any work in residents’ flats will therefore be carried out, unless there is an exceptional reason, such as an outbreak of the virus at the scheme, in which case the work will be put on hold.
It is unfortunately possible that some residents will need to self-isolate, because they or a family member have symptoms of the virus. If that is the case, then we would not be able to ask contractors to carry out repairs or servicing in your home until you were well again. Please do tell your Court Manager if that is the case, using the telephone or the call system.
Q: When should staff working at my court wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
A: Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the best way to reduce any risk of infection for anyone is good hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person. As all care is given within 2 metres, based on Public Health England’s Supported Living guidance, care staff will wear PPE to all calls.
Q: Will Housing 21 continue to let properties?
A: Following the government update on 10 May 2020, our schemes will now resume letting properties. Our on-site teams have been provided with some practical measures on how to do this safely and will of course follow social distancing guidelines at all times
HELP US REDUCE THE TRANSMISSION OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Please ensure you continue to follow the advice on good hygiene, such as:
- washing your hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or if hand washing facilities are not available, use hand sanitiser
- covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze, then throwing the tissue in a bin and washing your hands
- avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home