COVID-19 Coronavirus updates
Latest update: Thursday 9 April 2020
The safety of our residents, staff and contractors is our number one priority. Please be assured that we haved planned robustly for any developments and are carefully monitoring Government guidance.
We have contacted residents to let them know about changes in the way we operate. Although our offices are closed, we are offering as near to a ‘business as usual’ service through staff working from home.
In line with Government guidance, all the services we are still running are risk-assessed and, where needed, staff will wear protective clothing. We will always maintain strict social distancing. Please ensure you follow all Government guidance on keeping yourself and others safe.
We know this is a difficult time and there will be financial worries for some people. If you are struggling, or you think your circumstances may change, please contact us as soon as possible. There are numerous ways we can help, such as deferred payments and/or payments in instalments. If you don’t have access to the internet, please phone us.
We have had some residents querying why we have to keep charging rent at this difficult time and why we have increased our rent. The rents and service charges you pay are our main source of income. These pay for maintaining and managing our existing homes, health and safety compliance, plus services for elderly and vulnerable residents. As a housing association one of our functions is to continue to develop new, affordable housing, particularly while London is so deeply entrenched in a housing crisis. We can only do this if we continue to charge and collect rent in line with our long term business plans.
We do appreciate that the recent increase would never have been welcome news but as our main source of income, we need to invest to continue to operate now and in the future.
Vulnerable and elderly residents
We are making active contact with all residents who are aged over 70. Part of this is ensuring that they are connected with local sources of help on a borough by borough basis.
Repairs and maintenance
We are now running an emergency-only repairs and maintenance service. If you are requesting an emergency repair, we will ask if you or anyone in your property is in self-isolation. If the answer is yes, we will advise you of the next stage.
Health & Safety
We are continuing to carry out gas and electrical safety checks in your home as well as all other safety checks in communal areas. We will undertake the same risk assessments and approach to social distancing as for emergency repairs. Your help in providing access to undertake these safety checks is essential.
Our estate services team is delivering internal cleaning to as near usual frequency as possible. Currently we are only carrying out essential cleaning inside our blocks and are not providing non-essential services such as some grounds maintenance (for instance grass cutting). We are still checking the external areas of blocks so we can ensure that any health and safety hazards such as dumped rubbish are dealt with. If there is a reduction in services where you live, this will of course be reflected in the service charge payable.
If you’re worried that someone might be affected by domestic abuse, we can - in complete confidence - put you in touch with organisations that can support people.
As a result of staff now working from home, our offices are closed. This means that we have a reduced capacity to deal with phone calls. If you have not already done so, please register for the SBHG portal on our website. You can check your rent balance and make payments from your smartphone, computer, tablet or other device.
Please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This helps us focus our support on our most vulnerable and elderly residents. Our remote office will be closed over Easter but our emergency repairs service will operate as usual.
This Government webpage gives clear information: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/
Please read the Government's guidance on what to do if you have the symptoms: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public#what-to-do-if-you-have-symptoms
Collection of personal data related to Coronavirus
There will be instances where we may ask you to tell us if you are self-isolating, have or have had any symptoms of Coronavirus. This could be when you’re booking a repair or when arranging for one of our staff members to visit your property. We will only use this information for the purposes of ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, contractors and wider communities.
We will process this information because we have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of our employees, tenants and contractors. We don’t keep this information for longer than necessary.
We will not disclose this information to anyone else unless it is necessary to do so to comply with any of our legal obligations or where there is a substantial public interest to do so. For example, we may in some instances have to approach Public Health England, or another relevant statutory body, for advice. Visit our full Privacy Notice to find out more information about how we handle your data and how to exercise your rights.