Coronavirus advice: updated 3 April

Coronavirus advice: updated 3 April
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 will Greenfields operate during the lockdown?

Customer Service Centre

Our Customer Service Advisors are working usual hours 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.

Repairs

To help prevent the spread of Coronavirus and keep you safe, we will now only carry out repairs for critical emergencies from 24 March. Critical emergencies include situations where you have no power, are affected by an uncontrolled water leak, or your home has been damaged by fire.

If you believe you require an emergency repair, please call 01376 535400. We will balance your safety with our responsibilities to protect our staff and prevent the virus from spreading. If this is not the outcome you were hoping for, we will explain why we came to that decision.

If the visit does take place, we will follow “social distancing” protocols, such as avoiding contact within two metres for more than 15 minutes. Our priority here is to protect both you and our colleagues.

We have postponed our planned works, such as the installation of new kitchens and bathrooms, while the lockdown is in effect.

Neighbourhoods and support

We continue to respond to neighbourhoods queries including tenancy support, benefits advice, anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse support and more. Please visit www.greenfieldsch.org.uk/you-and-your-home/your-neighbourhood-service to find out more.

We are postponing some non-essential services, such as window-cleaning and tree work (unless detrimental to health and safety.)

Update 3 April: We will recommence Supported Garden Maintenance and the grass-cutting element of Grounds Maintenance this month. Please practice social distancing when our staff and contractors are on site.

Lettings

Unfortunately, we have had to postpone these, including garage lets, while we are in lockdown. We will resume these as soon as possible. We are still taking applications for mutual exchanges, although we will not be able to complete these until the lockdown is over.

Income Teams

Our Income Teams are working usual hours and are available to help at this time. If you are having difficulty paying your rent, then please be reassured that we have no intention of evicting residents who have contacted us to say they are having difficulty in paying their rent because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the closure of Greenfields House, we will be unable to collect and bank cheques. If you have sent us a cheque or completed Direct Debit form in the past 7 days, we may not have processed it.

Additionally, we will be unable to process new Direct Debit mandates.  If you usually pay using these methods, please get in touch and we can discuss an alternative method of payment.  Please do not worry if your payment is late as a result, we are here to help.

If you already have an existing Direct Debit, these will be unaffected and will be collected in the usual way.

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’ve been unable to work because of the Coronavirus and do not have enough income to pay my rent. What should I do?

A: Please contact us if you think you may be unable to pay your rent. The Government has proposed new legislation suspending new evictions while this national emergency takes place.  Regardless of whether that’s approved, we have no intention of evicting someone who has contacted us to say they are having difficulty in paying their rent because of the Coronavirus. The important thing is to keep in touch with us, as we offer a range of advice and support and may be able to put you in touch with other support agencies who can also help.

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. We are prioritising critical emergencies and other urgent work and we ask you to work with us.

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 and update your personal details. Please visit https://my.greenfieldsch.org.uk

Q: Is support still available for victims of domestic abuse?

A: Yes. We can help if you let us know. We are here for you and will offer support to help you and your family feel safe in your home and/or provide you with information where you can get additional support. Visit www.greenfieldsch.org.uk/support-for-you/domestic-abuse-support for more information.

If it’s an emergency, please call 999.