Coronavirus advice: updated 1 June

Coronavirus advice: updated 1 June
17th March 2020 James Calnan

We understand there is a wealth of information and speculation out there about the coronavirus. Our priority is to maintain services and communications, especially for residents who are particularly vulnerable. If you are struggling at this difficult time and you think we may be able to help, then please do get in touch – our contact methods are here: www.greenfieldsch.org.uk/contact

To keep you informed, we have put together this short Q&A guide. Advice and guidance from our Government and health services are being regularly updated, and we will keep this page updated in line with that changing situation.

If you have further questions, please contact us and we will keep this list updated.

Q: How do I help prevent coronavirus from spreading?

A: Please follow NHS and Public Health England advice, including washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser gel for 20 seconds. The latest advice is here: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Q: What services are Greenfields operating?

Repairs and maintenance

Since March, we have only been carrying out repairs in the event of a critical emergency. From now, you can request any repairs you would usually receive. You can book these on My Greenfields or by contacting us.

In order to keep you safe, our staff and contractors will:

  • Not visit you if they are showing any coronavirus symptoms highlighted by the NHS – continuous cough, high temperature and loss of taste or smell
  • Call you before visiting your home to check everything is ok and help you prepare for our arrival
  • Follow social distancing protocols, such as avoiding contact within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes. Where possible, and for everyone’s safety, they will ask you to stay in another room while they work
  • Wear surgical facemasks if their work requires them to enter your home, or if they are working outside but cannot socially distance
  • Regularly wash their hands and maintain good hand hygiene
  • Not visit homes where a resident has coronavirus symptoms unless that home requires a critical emergency. In that case, they will wear full personal protective equipment (PPE).

Using social distancing and PPE, we can safely carry out repairs in your home even if you have been advised to shield as you are at higher risk from coronavirus. However, we do understand if you wish to delay your repair at this stage.

Understandably, we have a backlog of non-emergency repairs to carry out as we have not been able to complete them for some time. We are putting extra resources in place so we can carry out your repairs as soon as possible, and we appreciate your patience.

Home improvements

When the lockdown was introduced in March, we paused our works to improve your home. We are now able to restart many of them. These include:

  • External works like roofing, concreting and wall finishes
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Communal cleaning at flats
  • Occupational Therapy assessments
  • Central heating replacement
  • Installing new front doors for flats

Work we are not yet carrying out includes some work inside the home, such as internal decoration. We are also not yet carrying out stock condition surveys of your homes.

Safety checks

Our safety checks, such as annual gas safety checks, have continued during the lockdown because they are so important. They are legal requirements and, more importantly, they help keep you safe at home.

Our teams and contractors have the equipment and guidance they need to keep everyone safe. If you are due a visit, then we will contact you to arrange it. Please get back to us to organise a suitable date for the visit and to ask any questions you may have.

Rent support

The Government has advised that you should continue to pay rent to the best of your ability.

However, if you face difficulties, then please get in touch as we can offer a range of support. Our Income Teams are available to assist you.

We have no intention of beginning eviction proceedings against you if you are having difficulty paying your rent as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

We are also unable to process new Direct Debit mandates. Please get in touch if this affects you and we will discuss an alternative. Please do not worry if your payment is late as a result – we are here to help.

Finally, the lockdown has delayed how quickly we can process cheques. If you can use a different payment method, please contact us to arrange it.

Lettings

We will be restarting our lettings service on Thursday, 4 June, with homes advertised on www.gatewaytohomechoice.org.uk as usual. This means we will also be able to process Mutual Exchange applications. Please observe social distancing when showing other residents around your home. You can express an interest in renting a garage by visiting www.greenfieldsch.org.uk/garage-tenancies and filling in the short form.

We will let homes safely by offering virtual viewings instead of viewings in person, carrying out tenancy sign-ups over the phone and by using key safes to hand over keys.

Support

Our support service is here for you. Whether it’s collecting shopping and prescriptions if you’re isolated, help applying for Universal Credit or just a friendly chat, please get in touch.

We are regularly contacting residents in Housing for Older People Schemes and vulnerable residents in other homes to offer support and guidance, and this will continue.

Neighbourhoods

Our Neighbourhoods teams continue to respond to queries and offer services, but will visit your home only in exceptional circumstances.

Anti-Social Behaviour: We recognise that there will be an increase in general household noise at the moment. However, if there are repeated issues and you are unable to resolve the situation with your neighbour, then please get in touch

Domestic abuse: If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, then isolation rules do not apply. Police response and support services remain available. Visit gov.uk/domestic-abuse or call 999 if you are in immediate danger. You can also contact us for advice and support.

Customer Service

Our Customer Service Advisors are working from 8.30am to 5pm on weekdays to take your phone calls, emails and social media messages. Please bear with us if there are network issues and do get in touch if you believe we may be able to help in any way. Greenfields House remains closed to visitors.

Q: Is Greenfields House open?

A: To help further prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Greenfields House closed to visitors from Monday, 23 March.

Q: What should I do if I have to self-isolate and I’m due to see someone from Greenfields?

A: Please contact us and let us know – we all have a role to play to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading.

Q: I, or someone I know, must self-isolate and needs support. What should I do?

A: If you are or know a Greenfields resident who is vulnerable or isolated, and does not have adequate support such as family, friends or carers to help them get essential items, please get in touch. We may be able to help.

If you have received a letter from the NHS titled ‘Important advice to keep you safe from Coronavirus’, then you are entitled to support to get essential medication and shopping. Please register online at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or call 0800 028 8327.

There is also a Facebook group led by volunteers, backed by Essex County Council and the NHS called “Essex Coronavirus Action”. Visit www.facebook.com/essexcoronavirusaction for more information.

Further support is out there, and we can point you in the right direction. Please get in touch.

Q: Am I at risk from catching it from a member of Greenfields’ staff?

A: With a handful of exceptions, we have asked all of our staff to work from home during this period. Where we carry out visits, for example to carry out emergency repairs, we use personal protective equipment where appropriate. During visits, we will establish with you the best way to maintain social distancing in order to minimise the likelihood of transmitting an infection.

All of our staff are regularly encouraged to keep up-to-date with the latest health advice and to maintain good hygiene. Like everyone else, staff are encouraged stay at home if they have symptoms and to follow all other NHS and Public Health England advice and direction.

Q: What will happen to our services if Greenfields staff contract the coronavirus?

A: We are monitoring the situation and have prepared plans to introduce if there are local cases of the coronavirus, including staff. We have plans in place to maintain services in the case of an emergency such as this pandemic, while staff have the technology they need to work from home.

You may experience delays in service or in some cases intermittent services. However, we are on the whole confident that we are able to continue to support you and your family in your home.

Please remember that our website has a wealth of information that may provide you with the answers you need. You can also use My Greenfields to check and pay rent, book repairs and update your personal details. Please visit https://my.greenfieldsch.org.uk