The following letter was sent to all tenants and factored owners on Friday 20th March:
Covid – 19 and Shettleston Housing Association
I hope that you and your family are as well as can be during these troubling and uncertain times.
The Association would like to assure you that we are committed to maintaining services as far as possible whilst also protecting the health and safety of our staff, service users and the wider public. This letter sets out the current position but, as you will be aware, the situation is fast moving so please check for updates on the following: · Our website www.shettleston.co.uk · Facebook – www.facebook.com/shettlestonha · Twitter – www.twitter.com/shettlestonha.
Our phone – 0141 763 0511 – we will leave any urgent message on our out-of-hours answering machine.
We will also text and e-mail updates so if you have a mobile phone and/or an e-mail address please text 07407 492 606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your up-to-date contact details.
The office is now closed to visitors and advice surgeries are suspended. For the time being, we will only see you in emergency situations. However, we will be continuing to provide a service over the phone through a mix of staff in the office and working from home. If you need to speak to someone, please call the usual office number (0141 763 0511) or the dedicated repairs line (0808 202 6565). You will be able either to speak to someone who can help you there and then or, if you leave a message, someone will call you back as soon as possible.
Please be aware that a call back may be from an unfamiliar number so you should take care to satisfy yourself that it is genuine by calling our office number.
Feeling vulnerable or alone?
We want to do as much as we can to support older and other more vulnerable tenants in the community during this crisis. If you need some help yourself, or are concerned about one of your neighbours or any other tenant, please contact us. We will do what we can to help and refer on to other services as necessary.
We will be continuing our own retirement housing and tenancy support service for as long as possible but the common room at Edrom Path is now closed and all clubs that operate from there have been suspended until further notice.
Worried about rent payments?
We know that, sadly, more tenants are likely to have money problems in the coming weeks and months, as the economy starts to suffer. Some may never have experienced such difficulties in the past. If you are worried about being able to pay your rent then please contact your housing officer as soon as possible. We will continue to be as supportive as possible in agreeing repayment arrangements and by offering expert advice and assistance over the phone to help you maximise your income eg, through claims for Universal Credit and other benefits. We will not evict any tenants for arrears that develop as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
Rent Payments Options
You can continue to make rent payments in the following ways and we would encourage you to do so to avoid the build-up of unnecessary rent arrears.
· To set up a Direct Debit for rent payment, call the office on 0141 763 0511.
· If you pay rent using a rent card, you can use your card at any Post Office or shop displaying the e-pay or pay point symbols. · You can also use your card to pay by telephone on 0330 041 6497 or online at www.allpayments.net Both these services are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Payments can also be made:
· Through the Allpay Smartphone app which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
· By debit card by telephoning the office 0141 763 0511. These payments are processed by CALLPAY system from Allpay and are a quick and secure method of payment.
There is a Universal Credit helpline (0800 328 5644) if you don’t have an online account.
It will not be possible to pay your rent in person at the office for as long as it is closed to visitors. If you would like some more information on any of the above alternative methods, please give us a call.
We will continue to provide a reactive repairs service for as long as possible but it is likely that some non-urgent repairs will have to wait. Please consider whether your repair can wait before contacting us. (See our website for definitions of emergency, urgent and routine repairs www.shettleston.co.uk)
- Please telephone 0808 202 6565 or email email@example.com to report a repair.
- If possible, email a photo or video of the repair and we will contact you to discuss whether the work can be carried out.
- We will ask you some screening questions before we ask a contractor to attend to assess if it is safe or necessary to do so eg. Do you have either a high temperature/fever OR a new continuous cough?
If you answer yes then the contractor may not be able to attend. If it is an emergency and the contractor does attend they will ask you to wait in a separate room while they carry out the repair and may wear protective clothing while completing the work.
- We are currently aiming to complete contract works that have already started but may need to suspend these in the near future. We will not be starting any new programmed contracts in the short term.
- We expect we will get to the stage where we can only deliver emergency repairs. We will notify you if this is the case. Your non-emergency repair will be logged and carried out at a later date.
- We will continue to undertake essential safety work like gas servicing and ask that you do all you can to provide access for this vital work. You will get a phone call, email or text rather than the usual letter confirming the appointment date.
All our contractors carry photo ID and you should make sure you see this before allowing them access to your home. If in doubt, call the office or repairs number.
· Our contractor, Upkeep, will continue to deliver our close cleaning, backcourt maintenance and landscaping services for as long as possible.
· Window cleaning in closes has been suspended for now to allow more time for cleaning bannisters, intercoms and close doors. A stronger disinfectant is also now being used.
· Glasgow City Council has suspended its bulk uplift service but Upkeep will continue to provide its bulk pull-out service, taking items directly to the dump.
Finally, please send us your thoughts and any suggestions on how we are delivering services and what else we might be able to do to support tenants and the wider community during this time.