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Help for Communities: Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub

Free phone with lines open 8am - 6pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm weekends) provides people across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray with information on how to access social, practical and emotional support on Coronavirus (Covid-19).  Contains links to the latest advice from a range of partners including all three local authorities, Police, Health, Red Cross, volunteers and community information.

 

UPDATE AS OF 5 JANUARY 2021

Following Scottish Government Guidance, the following updates are available.

From 5 January 2021, mainland Scotland is in temporary lockdown.  To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible.  For updated guidance on restrictions click here.

If you need to contact us you should call 0300 123 9279 or email info@grampianhousing.co.uk and one of our Customer Service Officers will help you.

DETAILS OF CHANGES TO SERVICE DELIVERY - Updated 5 January 2021

Housing Officers / Neighbourhood Officers

Our Housing Officers / Neighbourhood Officers will continue to offer doorstep visits if able, but please call or email where possible.  We can also offer a video calling service.  In the first instance please email info@grampianhousing.co.uk or call 0300 123 9279.

Money and Benefit Advice / Housing Support and Energy Advice

The tenancy sustainment teams are continuing to provide money, benefit and debt, housing support and energy advice through a phone service.  They can collect/drop-off documentation if required but a risk assessment will be carried out and hygiene rules must be applied. 

In addition, ASSIST housing support workers will recommence doorstep visits where necessary and in line with Care Inspectorate Guidance.  SMART and ASSIST clients will have the option of calls by video conference.

In some cases doorstep visits will be undertaken by our Support Services.

Housing Allocations

General lettings started again at the end of June 2020.  These are being done safely with the following protocol in place:
• Pre-lettings work is being carried out remotely by email/phone;
• Prospective tenant contacted prior to signing to ensure they are not self isolating or have any Covid-19 symptoms;
• Risk assessment undertaken;
• No contact signing.

As restrictions are lifted we intend to carry out virtual viewings as well as continuing with the processes above.

Mutual Exchanges

Unfortunately Grampian is not currently accepting mutual exchange applications. 

Repairs

As a responsible employer and landlord Grampian Housing Association has developed robust procedures to ensure we reduce the spread of Covid-19 throughout our operations. Our revised working practices take account of all our varied working scenarios, including processes for working safely on properties while delivering cyclical maintenance (statutory & safety), reactive repairs or planned improvements like kitchens or window replacements. 

Safeguarding our employees, contractors and customers and the communities we work in will remain our top priority as we remobilise repairs, including special consideration for those who are particularly vulnerable, self isolating or following Test and Protect protocols. 

Please note that with immediate effect (Monday 21 December 2020) we are only responding to emergency repair requests.  This follows the Scottish Government's latest announcement that mainland Scotland will move into a temporary lockdown from 5 January 2021. 

To report emergency repairs only (e.g. major leak, total loss of power) please call 0300 123 9279. 

It is vital that Grampian Housing Associations and its term contractors reassure you of our safe working procedures and we will establish individual circumstances and any specific vulnerability you may have by conducting a telephone survey prior to our appointed visit to your home. 

Depending on the scenarios arising from each call, our visit may be re-arranged to a time when you are well enough for our visit.

If you are particularly vulnerable, symptomatic, self isolating through Test and Protect or just not comfortable with our visit due to general concern over the ongoing Covid-19 situation, we will act sensitively and considerately to re-arrange our visit to a time that suits your individual needs or postpone the repair.

Robust risk assessments have been carried out to cover both on-site and in-home works as well as working from home and the office.  Each takes into account key pieces of legislation the risks presented by staff becoming infected with COVID-19 and specific hazards related to travel and operational activities. Specific control measures are proposed for each hazard, including good hygiene practice, social distancing and safe storage of equipment.

Cyclical works like external painting programs or legislative health and safety requirements like gas or electrical servicing will also continue following our Covid-19 safe procedures. 

Our safe operating procedures are based on the latest guidance issued by key bodies and working groups, including:

Scottish and UK Government guidance and legislation;

Health Protection Scotland Guidance for General Non-Healthcare Settings;

Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum;

Housemark, Scottish Housing Federation of Housing Associations and Scottish Housing Network.

TLC

TLC operations have been suspended until further notice.
 

Housing Applications

HomeHunt is continuing to register new applicants and assessing priority passes. Please contact HomeHunt on 01224 628101 or email homehuntnes@castlehillha.co.uk.

Payments

If you need to make a payment and are able to make it online with your Allpay card please visit www.allpayments.net/allpayments/. Alternatively please call us on 0300 123 9279 and a Customer Service Officer will take your payment.

New Arrears Procedure

If we are taking action because you are in rent arrears, a new pre Notice of Proceedings (NOP) letter will be issued giving advice on COVID-19, signposting and support available. 

NOPs will be hand delivered by one staff member.  Cards will also be left urging customers who are in arrears to contact Grampian Housing Association.  Staff may also knock at your door but will not discuss anything unless there is a safe private area.

Anti-social behaviour/serious arrears cases

Video calls will be encouraged until home visits are deemed safe.

General Enquiries

For any other queries please visit the Contact Us section on our website to get in touch or call 0300 123 9279.

Changes to Income

We understand any changes to income can be worrying so the following websites provide more information on help available: 

GOV.UK guidance for employees/self employed: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

You may be entitled to claim Universal Credit which includes support for housing costs, if eligible. The following website provides further information on applying for Universal Credit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

If you are getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit but still can't afford to pay your housing costs, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).  Further information on DHPs and how to apply is available at https://www.mygov.scot/discretionary-housing-payment/

You may be able to get support with emergency living costs through the Scottish Welfare Fund.  Further information on how to apply is available at https://www.mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund/crisis-grants/

Entitled To online benefit calculator: https://www.entitledto.co.uk/

Energy Supply

If you are concerned about your bills going up due to being home more often then Energy Action Scotland have provided some energy saving tips https://www.eas.org.uk/en/coronavirus_56247/

We have an in-house Energy Adviser who you can contact on 07495 706893 (Mon - Wed) or email energy@grampianhousing.co.uk for general advice.

If you have a pre-payment meter where possible you should try to keep this topped up in case you can’t get out to top up your meter due to self-isolating for 14 days.

If you have a pre-payment meter and can’t top up your meter due to self-isolating you should contact your energy supplier straight away. Each supplier will provide different help but it could include:

Having funds added to your meter credit.

Having a preloaded gas or electricity card sent to you in the post.

Utilita:   https://utilita.co.uk/ T: 0345 207 2000

Your supplier will be able to provide you with more help available.  Please be aware energy suppliers are asking for emergency enquiries only by telephone so use their website or online chat where available:

SSE:    https://sse.co.uk/home; 0345 026 2658 – Customer service; 0345 071 9852 – Priority service

E-on:    https://www.eonenergy.com/; 0345 303 3040

N-Power: https://www.npower.com/; 0330 100 3000

British Gas: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/; 0330 100 0303

EDF: https://www.edfenergy.com/; 0333 200 5100

Bulb: https://help.bulb.co.uk/hc/en-us; 0300 30 30 635

Communal Cleaning and Gardening

Our Facilities Teams are carrying out normal cleaning duties whilst observing social distancing.

In Moray the estate caretakers are also carrying on with their services whilst observing social distancing.  In all areas this includes the resumption of our assisted garden maintenance scheme for vulnerable tenants.
 
Our Property and Estate Management Officers are carrying out monthly inspections of communal cleaning and open space maintenance work whilst observing social distancing.  Please e-mail factoring@grampianhousing.co.uk or call 0300 123 9279 should you wish to contact the Property and Estate Management Officer for your scheme. Please be aware that certain tasks are taking longer to carry out than usual. 
 
Customers are asked not to approach our operatives directly but to contact the office via email or phone to report any issues.
 
Repairs: we will be carrying out emergency repairs only.  For communal areas these are limited to maintaining security and health & safety.  If you have an emergency repair, please contact the Customer Response Unit on 0300 123 9279 and one of our Customer Service Officers will be able to help you.
 

Our Contractors:

  • Roy Cowie (our grounds maintenance contractor) is back on site observing social distancing but providing much needed services to keep our open spaces tidy and our grass cut.
  • Really Wheelie (bin cleaning) and Sparkle (window cleaning), who travel seperately, have confirmed they will continue with their services (external only).
  • Our Fire Protection cotractor is dealing with emergencies only.

 

If you have any queries not addressed here please let us know by emailing communications@grampianhousing.co.uk

 

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