Coronavirus (COVID-19) - service update and advice

We want to reassure you that we’re doing everything we can to keep our services running as smoothly as possible. We’re following the government, Public Health England and NHS advice which you can find on the NHS website. We are keeping the situation under review and are in daily contact with the Network Homes leadership team. We will continue to work closely with them as we navigate our way through the challenging times ahead. 

 

Service update - Sunday 5 April 2020

Delroy Rankin, Executive Director of SW9, has been writing to all residents. His letter can be found on our Publications page.

With the majority of SW9 staff now working from home, the normal level of services can no longer be maintained during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SW9 Office will now be closed to the public until further notice. This is to ensure the safety of residents and staff following current government advice. Although the office will be closed you can still use the following contact methods:

Telephone: 0207 326 3700 

Email: info@sw9.org.uk

Online: Use the Contact us form

Social media:

We are attempting to make changes to the telephone system to allow staff working from home to answer calls directly. 

 

Repairs

As of Monday 23 March, only priority and emergency repairs will be undertaken.  Non-urgent repairs will be logged but not actioned until a later date.  Our out of hours service provider, Pinnacle, will continue to manage calls made to SW9 outside of normal business hours, but will only forward emergency repairs to the contractor.

 

What you can do to help

In the interest of everyone’s safety, if you require a emergency repair, you will be asked to confirm if you or a member of your household is currently self-isolating or have been confirmed as having coronavirus. It is important we know this information to ensure contractors are not put at risk.

 

Do you need support?

If you are unable to leave your home and need support then please let us know. We have a team who can support you with:

  • Picking up shopping
  • Picking up urgent supplies
  • Picking up medication.
  • Giving you a friendly phone call.

 

Vulnerable residents

We will be contacting all vulnerable residents – especially the elderly – to ensure they are safe, well and have access to essentials. Lana Hunte, SW9 Supported Housing Manager, will temporarily move into one of the guest apartments at Helmi House to enable our elderly or vulnerable residents receive support including a shopping service.

 

Contracted (out-sourced) Estate Services

Some of the services we provide to you are outsourced. These include estate & block cleaning, CCTV monitoring, parking control and the concierge at Park Heights. SW9 will continue to work with our contractors and service providers to ensure, as far as possible, those essential services will continue. In the event that we are forced to make changes to service provision, we will endeavour to notify ahead of those changes.

 

Parking on the estate 

Parking restrictions will be suspended until further notice.  Please note, vehicles must only be parked in designated parking areas. Vehicles parked on yellow lines, cross hatched areas or unauthorised areas will be issued with a Parking Charge Notice.

 

Playgrounds

In line with measures being taken by Lambeth Council, all SW9 playgrounds are now closed until further notice. This is to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. We know it can be difficult with young children but please do respect this closure the for the health of your family and the wellbeing of the wider community.

 

Managing your rent payments

As you may be aware the Government announced on 18 March 2020 that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic they will be introducing emergency legislation so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period.

At SW9 Community Housing evictions are only ever used as an absolute last resort but it is important to recognise that if you do not pay your rent (or service charges) you are putting your home at risk. This position is unchanged by the Government announcement but we will continue to support people in financial difficulty proactively and compassionately, in line with our normal processes.

Your rent (and service charges) will continue to be due on an ongoing basis and any payments will have to be made up to ensure that your account is not in arrears. For example if you did not pay your rent for three months and then made up these arrears over the following twelve-months it would mean your regular payments would be 25 per cent higher.

We understand that your household income may be affected during the coronavirus outbreak, especially if you have to self-isolate and are not able to go to work. We’ve provided some information below on what you can do depending on your circumstance and we’ll continue to follow the advice and guidance from the Government about it. Please contact our Income Team via the following contact methods if you have any concerns about paying your rent and/or service charges. Advice and support is available.

Telephone: 0207 326 370

Email:

  • Tenants - rents@sw9.org.uk
  • Shared owners - SharedOwner.Income@sw9.org.uk
  • Leaseholders - Leasehold.Income@sw9.org.uk

 

Key information on rent payments:

I receive benefits to help pay my rent

If you receive Universal Credit and you have a jobcentre appointment but are staying at home on Government advice, or have been diagnosed with coronavirus, you will not be sanctioned if you tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in good time. You must inform the DWP by updating your online journal or calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

You can find out more information including any updates or changes in guidance on the Universal Credit website: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

 

I’m in full/part time work (self-isolating)

Depending on your employment contract and type of work, your income may be affected if you need to self-isolate as a result of the coronavirus. The Government has announced they have made changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to ensure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread.

This includes:

  • people who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness.
  • Statutory Sick Pay will be payable to people who are staying at home on government advice, not just those who are infected.
  • if employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from the NHS 111 Online instead of having to get a fit note from their doctor – this is currently under development and will be made available soon.

SSP is paid at a rate of £94.25 per week. For more information including details about applying for Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance (CBESA) visit the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses

 

I’m self-employed or on a zero-hours contract

The Government has made changes to how Universal Credit supports self-employed claimants. Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected. For more information see the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses

 

I’ve been made unemployed as a direct result of the coronavirus

It was announced in the 2020 budget that the minimum income floor (for those that are SE there is an assumed minimum income) will be temporarily relaxed. This is to ensure you receive some support which will include both the personal and housing element of Universal Credit.

If you are affected by coronavirus you will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a jobcentre. For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit