STAY ALERT. CONTROL THE VIRUS. SAVE LIVES: For up to date information on the SW9 response to Coronavirus, please visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) - SW9 service advice and update page. 

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - SW9 service update and advice

Sunday 31 May 2020

STAY ALERT. CONTROL THE VIRUS. SAVE LIVES

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 regular contact with the SW9 Board and Network Homes Leadership Team. We will continue to work closely with them as we navigate our way through the challenging times ahead.

SW9 is a community. It is at times such as these that we need to do our best for ourselves, our families and each other. Please keep up to date with the latest government advice, follow the guidance around staying at home and social distancing, and support your neighbours where possible, especially those that are elderly.

For a detailed service by service list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SW9's response to Coronavirus, please scroll to the bottom of the page. 

Latest news:

  • Service update letter - Julie Alexander, SW9 Head of Operations, is writing to all residents with an update on SW9's service response to Coronavirus. You can read the letter now on our Publications page.
  • Wise About Food online workshops - We are now offering our planned healthy eating workshops remotely via Zoom. Find out more about how to sign up here. 
  • Neighbourhood Letter - Our Neighbourhood Team has written an open letter to all residents reminding everyone to respect the quiet enjoyment of their home plus other important matters. The letter can be found on our Publications page. 
  • Beware scams - Across the country there has been an increase in suspicious volunteers targeting vulnerable/older people. For more information visit this news story.
  • Emergency repairs only - SW9 are reminding residents that we are still only undertaking emergency repairs. More information can be found in this news story.
  • Duck Pond Closed - In the past week we have received reports of residents breaking into the Wynter House Duck Pond area. Please note that this space is closed to the public. More information can be found in our news story.
  • Universal Credit - Important Announcement - The SW9 Income Team have released an important update about UC payments. You can read this here.
  • Videos - We have created a series of videos detailing our service response to Coronavirus. You can watch these via our news story or using the playlist on the SW9 Youtube channel. 
  • Food Vouchers - SW9 can now arrange Food Bank Vouchers online for residents. Please see this news story to find out how we can do this for you.
  • Lockdown Lives - in an ongoing series of interviews we are asking staff and residents how their lives have changed since lockdown. You can read an interview with Lana Hunte, SW9 Supported Housing Team Leader, Lan Chuong, SW9 Interim Income Team Leader and Marcia Scott, SW9 Volunteer, on our news pages.
  • SW9 Spring Newsletter - The SW9 Spring Newsletter is now available online and should land on your doorstep during the next seven days. You can read it now on our Publications page.
  • Wise About Food Video Channel - Sarah Scotland from our partner Wise About Food has released a number of videos showing you how to make nutritious meals from very little. They can be viewed here.
  • Support for the extremely vulnerable - You can apply for government support if you're classed as 'clinically extremely vulnerable'. Visit the Government website here.
  • Domestic abuse support - Lambeth Council has released a range of support for those suffering from domestic abuse. More information can be found on the website.
  • Support with Universal Credit - SW9 can help those that have had their income affected and are considering Universal Credit. Please see our website news story.
  • Signposting information - SW9 has released signposting information that may be useful to some residents during this difficult time. It can be found on our Publications page.
  • SW9 support survey - SW9 is conducting a survey of residents to try and identify those who need our support. You can fill this out now by clicking this link to complete the form.
  • Healthy eating guide - Sarah Scotland from Wise About Food has created a guide to healthy eating especially to help those living on essentials. It can be found on our Publications page.
  • FAQs are live - At SW9 there are a number of questions that come up so regularly that we have created a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help you resolve issues outside of working hours.
  • Urgent support available - Lambeth Council has released a wealth of information for those that are vulnerable and require urgent support.
  • SW9 support for the elderly and vulnerable - If you are unable to leave your home and need support, you are not alone. SW9 can help. More information can be found in this news story.
  • Letter to residents - Delroy Rankin, Executive Director of SW9, has written to all residents. His letter can be found on our Publications page.

 

SW9 Coronavirus service response Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Four key changes you need to know

    In this new environment we have had to make some key changes to our usual service. Even if you do not read the rest of this webpage, please do look at the information below so that you know what these are.

    1. Emergency repairs only

    As of Monday 23 March, we’ve stopped all non-emergency repairs until further notice.

    Non-urgent repairs will be logged but only actioned at 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, Chigwell (London) Ltd.

    2. SW9 Office closed

    To help reduce the spread of Coronavirus, the SW9 Office will remain closed to residents and the general public until further notice. Although the office is closed, you can still use the following contact methods:

    We will let you know as soon as we are able to open the office again.

    3. Parking restrictions suspended

    Parking restrictions on the estate have been suspended until further notice. Despite this, it is important that vehicles are only parked in designated parking areas.

    Any vehicles parked on yellow lines, cross hatched areas or unauthorised areas will still be issued with a Parking Charge Notice.

    4. Playgrounds closed

    The Prime Minister announced on Monday 23 March that, as part of increased measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus, playgrounds should close. This has taken place across Lambeth, including on the Stockwell Park Estate. Although we appreciate that this can make life difficult for families with children, it is essential if we are to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone within the community.

  • Your repairs service

    We have decided to stop non-emergency repairs until further notice.

    1. What should I expect from my repairs service

    We understand that you will still need repairs to your home and communal areas during this time, but we’ve had to make some changes to our service.

    We’ve stopped all non-emergency repairs so we can prioritise the emergency repairs you may have. This also means we’ve had to stop all planned and non-essential maintenance work. If you need to contact us about a new repair, please consider if it is an emergency repair. If it is not an emergency repair, it will still be logged but only actioned at 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, Chigwell (London) Ltd.

    2. What should I do if I’m self-isolating or unwell but have an emergency repair scheduled?

    Please contact us to let us know if you’re self isolating, showing symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) or have been confirmed to have Coronavirus. This is to protect you, our staff and contractors.

    We will put measures in place to complete your emergency repair. If we’re not able to do this, we’ll speak with you about how and when we can safely gain access to your home to complete the repair.

    You can contact us by phone on 0207 326 3700, email at repairs@sw9.org.uk or by using our website Report a Repair page.

    3. What is an emergency repair?

    Emergency repairs are ones where, if they are not fixed, could lead to a risk to health and safety, a home is not secure or there is damage that could compromise the structure of your home.

    Emergency repairs, during this time, include:

    • No heating or hot water.
    • No electricity or water due to internal faults.
    • Serious water leaks (ones that cannot be contained, are affecting electrics or could cause a ceiling to collapse).
    • Collapsed ceiling.
    • Blocked or non-flushing toilet (when there is only one in the property).
    • Blocked drains.
    • Any leaks involving sewerage.
    • Smashed windows.
    • Insecure damaged front door.

    Please note, we’ve put special measures in place to complete emergency repairs in the homes of people who are self-isolating or who have Coronavirus.

    4. What about other repairs or health and safety work?

    We’re still completing repairs on our empty properties to get them ready for new residents, and carrying out essential health and safety work.

    In both situations, our contractors are following the Government’s safety precautions during this time.

  • Your estate services

    Some of the services we provide to you are outsourced to contractors. What will happen to them during the Coronavirus period?

    1. Will my estate services still happen?

    We use contractors to deliver a number of our key services on the estate. These include estate & block cleaning, CCTV monitoring, parking control and the concierge at Park Heights.

    A significant number of the staff employed are deemed essential workers and can therefore use public transport to get to Stockwell Park. Although our contractors and service providers are not reporting significant numbers of staff as unavailable, should the epidemic develop as expected it is probable this will change due to workers developing COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolating.

    SW9 will continue to work with our contractors and service providers to ensure, as far as possible, that these essential services continue. If we are forced to make any changes, we will endeavour to notify you before they take place.

    2. Are parking restrictions still in place?

    Parking restrictions on the estate have been suspended until further notice. Despite this, it is important that vehicles are only parked in designated parking areas.

    Any vehicles parked on yellow lines, cross hatched areas or unauthorised areas will be issued with a Parking Charge Notice.

  • Your gas service

    What happens if you are due to have your annual gas check (or have other concerns about your supply)?

    1. What about my annual gas safety check?

    As they are a legal requirement we are continuing with gas safety checks. Please let our contractors in to do these checks, unless you’re self-isolating or extremely vulnerable, and wait in a different room – at least two metres away for the duration of the visit.

    We are not carrying out gas servicing visits to homes where someone is:

    • Self-isolating or has a confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19). We will reschedule this visit for four weeks later.
    • Extremely vulnerable in accordance with the Government definition and shielding themselves. However, we will still carry out emergency servicing and look to resume routine maintenance as soon as possible.

    When an engineer visits your home, they will follow these guidelines:

    • Confirm prior to entering your home whether anyone is self-isolating, or has been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus or has recently gone into self-isolation.
    • Keep a minimum of two metres apart from other people.
    • Wash their hands frequently.
    • Wipe down all surfaces.
  • Managing your rent

    We understand that some of our residents have had their household income impacted during this time. Please contact your Income Team via the following contact methods if you have any concerns about paying your rent and/or service charges. Advice and support are available - please see out website news story.

    Telephone: 0207 326 3700

    Email:

    • Tenants - rents@sw9.org.uk
    • Shared owners - SharedOwner.Income@sw9.org.uk
    • Leaseholders - Leasehold.Income@sw8.org.uk  

    1. Can I still be evicted?

    On 18 March 2020 the Government announced that, due to the current Coronavirus (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.

    SW9 Community Housing only ever use evictions as an absolute last resort. We will continue to support you if you’re 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 to ensure that your account is not in arrears. Remember, if benefits currently cover your rent in full they should continue to do so.

    2. 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.   

    3. 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 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 - they will get this 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. 

    4. 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. 

    5. 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 the Government website.

    6. I’m self-employed and my business has been affected

    If your business and income have been affected, you can:

    7. I’m struggling to pay bills other than rent

    If you’re having trouble paying bills you:

    • May be entitled to Universal Credit. To find out more visit the Government website.
    • May be able to claim an advance against your first Universal Credit payment which will be recovered from future payments
  • Support for older and vulnerable residents

    We know that we have a number of older and vulnerable residents on the estate. But what are we doing to support them during this difficult time?

    1. How has SW9 been helping?

    We have been contacting all of our vulnerable residents – especially the elderly – to ensure they are safe, well and have access to essentials.

    The compassion of our staff for our vulnerable and older residents is really shining through in this difficult time and it is something that we’re proud of.

    In our sheltered schemes we’ve been supporting our residents through self-isolation, reaching out in particular to those who do not have support from family and friends. We are of course following the Government’s advice closely around social distancing to prevent the virus spreading. This means we have suspended all planned communal activities and the use of communal lounges in our schemes. Staff continue to make daily wellbeing calls first thing in the morning to all residents to check they’re well.

    We’re still providing some critical services, such as testing the fire alarms and health & safety inspections. Our cleaning contractor is also continuing to work in our sheltered schemes to disinfect surfaces in the hallways including touch points such as door handles, lift panels and laundry equipment.

    We’re also looking at how we can support older and vulnerable residents living in our other homes. We’re directing people to online delivery, local shops which are carrying out deliveries or local community services. We’ll keep this under review and look to see what other support services we may be able to offer to extremely vulnerable people as this situation settles down.

    Lastly, we have seen an increase in the number of calls to our community alarm providers for day to day items. To help them sustain their emergency service please only use your cord or pendant in emergencies. For day to day issues please contact your Scheme Manager.

    2. What if I need support?

    If you are unable to leave your home and need support, you are not alone. SW9 can help in the following ways:

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

    Just give us a call and we will do our best to help you in any way we can. We can leave anything you need on your doorstep to ensure you are not put at risk.

    Please call:

    • Lana on 07950 270 776
    • Novelette on 07958 408 471
    • Elsa on 07825 113 945
    • Davison on 07949 686 629
  • How you can help

    There are a number of things that you can do to help SW9 continue to deliver as smooth a service as possible to you.

    1. Should I let you know if I’m self-isolating or have symptoms?

    In the interest of everyone’s safety, please tell us if you’re currently self-isolating, have symptoms or have been confirmed as having Coronavirus.

    Also, let us know if someone in the household has an underlying medical condition. It is important we know this information to ensure members of the household and our contractors are not put at risk. It will also help us to better support you with your query and be best prepared if we need to visit your property to carry out an emergency repair.

    You can contact us by phone on 0207 326 3700 or by email at info@sw9.org.uk

    2. Should I let you know if I’m classed as vulnerable?

    The Government has identified a small number of people with specific medical conditions and they’re advising them to shield themselves from wider contact for 12 weeks.

    If you fall into this extremely vulnerable group, you should have received a letter from the NHS by 29 March with more information about it. If you have received this letter, please let us know so we can record it on our system.

    3. Stay safe, save lives and stay at home

    The Government has announced new rules on staying home and away from others. This is so we can all help to protect the NHS and save lives.

    You should only leave your home for very limited purposes:

    • Shopping for basic necessities.
    • Exercise.
    • Any medical need, including to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
    • Travelling for work purposes, but only if you are deemed a key worker.