Coronavirus update - updated 20th May, reviewed 20th May
Coastline Housing is committed to ensuring we look after our customers and communities as best as we are able. During the coronavirus crisis we will stay focused on delivering our vital work for communities across Cornwall.
We will continue to be in contact by telephone with the most vulnerable customers in our homes to ensure they are not isolated, and will keep in regular contact throughout the crisis.
While our telephone lines remain open, with the majority of staff having to work from home you may find it more difficult to get through than normal. Please use alternative contact methods, for example My Coastline or email via firstname.lastname@example.org, as our staff can reply to these more easily.
Letter to social housing residents
The Minister of State for Housing has published an open letter to all social housing residents this week, setting out a summary of how the government views the current situation and what customers should expect from their landlords at this time.
Reassuringly, the points set out in this letter are in line with the steps Coastline has taken with regard to the delivery of our services during the initial lockdown and at the present time.
You can read the letter here.
The government advises you should stay alert. This means you must:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Anyone who has the following symptoms to isolate themselves at home for seven days:
- high temperature
- a new dry cough or shortness of breath
- loss or change in your sense of smell or taste
Additionally, anyone who shares a home with someone who has coronavirus symptoms should also self-isolate at home for 14 days. Self-isolation means that you must avoid contact with other people to avoid spreading the virus.
Updates can be found here:
Extremely vulnerable people
If you have a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus you can now register with the government for extra help. For example, you could ask for assistance getting deliveries of essential supplies like food.
If you’re not sure whether your medical condition makes you extremely vulnerable, register anyway. The government has given some examples:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
This service is free. You can register yourself, or for someone else.
Find out more and register at www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
Repairs and defects
We continue to provide a critical and emergency repairs service. This includes defects in new-build homes.
By emergency repairs we mean any defect that puts the health, safety or security of a customer, or a third party, at immediate risk; or that affects the structure of the building adversely.
When you call us you will be asked whether anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus. If someone does, we will discuss with you how we can undertake the repair without compromising health and safety.
You can still report other repairs and new-build defects to us. We will record the details and be in touch when we are able to schedule the work. If a repair later becomes an emergency please contact us straight away.
If you have reported a repair please do not contact us again. There is a large backlog to work through, so we will be in touch when we are able to visit.
The critical services are gas boiler servicing and high risk communal area cleaning.
You may see Coastline Services teams working on homes in the coming weeks. This is because we are prioritising some urgent repairs that we were not able to complete under initial government guidance.
The latest guidance allows us to carry out external work under social distancing rules. This includes removing scaffolding and other essential work such as fencing repairs.
Coastline Services operatives will follow all health and safety guidelines and have full personal protective equipment. We remind customers not to approach the teams and follow social distancing rules to keep everyone safe.
Cleaning of most communal areas is on hold to free up staff time for more regular and intensive cleaning of common areas at our extra care and supported complexes where the majority of customers are in the most vulnerable group.
In line with government requirements, playgrounds and common rooms in supported housing are closed.
You can read full details of our current service on the report a repair page.
Gas safety checks
Following guidance recently released from the government, gas servicing is classed as essential and will carry on as usual unless anyone in the household is self-isolating due to coronavirus symptoms or at risk. Gas servicing must be done every 12 months, as confirmed by Gas Safe.
If our contractor Blue Flame has made an appointment with you, please call them on 01326 378122 should anyone in your household have symptoms of coronavirus. They will either move the appointment or discuss how it may still go ahead.
Coastline is carrying out essential grounds maintenance in selected areas where grass is especially long.
Over the coming weeks we aim to get back to a more regular schedule of work.
Coastline Services' grounds maintenance team will place signs to encourage social distancing. We ask our customers to respect this and not approach our operatives.
As always, please let us know straight away if you are having difficulties paying your rent. Our income management team is here to provide you with advice. This may be different for each customer, so keeping in touch with us as your circumstances change will ensure we can give you the right help.
The government has confirmed they are suspending new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while the national emergency is taking place, and that there will be no new possession proceedings through applications to courts.
These announcements are welcomed and fully supported by Coastline Housing.
While there has been some debate online and in newspapers about how the government’s rules will work, we would like to reassure you that Coastline will not be seeking evictions due to rent arrears caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
If you find your income has been reduced, then it is important to make a claim for Universal Credit or Housing Benefit straight away.
To make a claim for Universal Credit visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit. You do not need to call them once you have made a claim. They will contact you if there is anything they need to know, and you can see updates in your online journal. If you or someone you know needs assistance you can contact Citizens Advice to ask about their Help to Claim service.
For Housing Benefit head to www.cornwall.gov.uk/advice-and-benefits/benefits/claiming-housing-benefit-and-council-tax-support/
Turn2us has a benefits calculator on its website which gives a good guide to what you may be entitled to: https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/AboutYou
If you are a shared owner and struggling to pay your mortgage due to the situation, please be aware that you may be able to take a mortgage payment holiday. Please contact your mortgage provider regarding this. If you are struggling to pay your rent share, the team will be happy to assist wherever possible.
A recent announcement has confirmed assistance from energy providers to ensure no-one finds themselves without electricity.
Providers can use a discretionary fund to provide you with credit or send pre-loaded top up cards, so your supply isn’t affected. More broadly, any energy customer in financial distress will also be supported by their supplier, which could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.
Please contact your energy supplier to see what options are available to you if needed.
If you and your family are experiencing extreme hardship please contact us as we can help you find extra support. You can also access help from Cornwall Council’s Crisis and Care service. Visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/advice-and-benefits/benefits/crisis-and-care-awards/
We will add details of other organisations that can help on our customer wellbeing page.
We are only letting homes in emergency circumstances.
If you are about to move we will contact you to discuss your options.
If you have been offered a property with Coastline please be assured that we will take reasonable steps to keep this property available. You can extend your notice, or cancel it if you no longer want to move.
Please use My Coastline or email email@example.com to let us know as soon as possible.
Visits by our staff
We will only visit your home if there is an emergency:
- For repairs as stated above
- To check on a vulnerable person if we cannot make contact by phone – staff will obey social distancing rules and not enter the home
All our staff are briefed with the latest advice. Nobody attending falls into any of the higher risk categories covered by government guidelines.
We will provide services as much as we can by telephone or through My Coastline.
We are attempting to contact customers where we know about any health issues that may make them more vulnerable. If you think you would benefit from a telephone call each day during the current crisis please let us know. We will continue to keep updating information on the website and via social media.
Our reception at Coastline House is closed to visitors. Please contact us using My Coastline or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Miners Court Extra Care is closed to visitors and our day centre service is not running. We have put steps in place to ensure that the people who live at Miners Court do not feel isolated.
Chi Winder in Pool remains open for anyone who is street homeless. Clients in supported accommodation who usually make use of the facilities must not visit.