Coronavirus Customer Update

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus in the UK is currently being monitored closely by Public Health England and the UK Government has confirmed we are in the ‘containment’ phase.

The situation is being closely monitored by Equity and we will continually review our plans to deliver our services to you, updating them based on evolving national guidance, to provide business continuity for our customers whilst managing the health and safety of our residents, colleagues and communities where we work. At present we are aiming to continue to deliver business as usual, but have introduced some additional measures and will update you further should these arrangements change.

You can help prevent the spread of infection by washing your hands regularly with soap and water.

Here is a reminder of the symptoms of the virus:   

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath

If you or any of your close family/friends start to display symptoms of this illness, please call 111.

If you do feel unwell with these symptoms or if you or your family have recently travelled and returned from an affected country.

Please visit 111 online - https://111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/ this can be used to log concerns and is an alternative to using the phone lines, which are currently receiving high volumes of calls throughout the day.

If you are self-isolating or have a confirmed diagnosis, it’s really important that you let us know so we can plan accordingly please contact us on 0300 123 4460. Please be advised that this information will be held confidentially to allow us to plan the delivery of services and minimise the spread of the disease.

To protect everyone from infection colleagues from Equity will be making additional checks with customers when making appointments and visiting you to identify if there are any risks to themselves or the wider public. This is a precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of infection in line with Government advice. 

 

Repairs Update:

As of Tuesday 24 March 2020, we will be operating an emergency only repairs service for all of our customers. We have taken these vital steps to ensure customers who need our emergency repairs service at this difficult time are prioritised.

All ongoing repairs jobs which we are already aware of and are already currently showing in our system, will continue to be completed over the coming weeks - pending all safety checks, put in place due to the Coronavirus, being carried out, and ensuring we comply with government guidelines.

To help you understand what we mean by the words 'emergency only', we have classified these repairs as:

  • Total loss of water.
  • Total loss of electricity.
  • Unsafe electrical fittings fitted by Equity housing.
  • Main sewer drain is blocked and backing up into property.
  • Blocked or unusable toilet facilities and only facility in property
  • Breaches of security to doors and windows to the dwelling.
  • Heating and/or hot water loss for elderly or vulnerable tenants or for all tenants during the period 31st October – 1st May.
  • Out of service lifts.
  • Failure of warden alarm or call system.
  • Total loss of gas supply or Gas leaks will be addressed via redirection of customers to gas emergency line and gas emergency process will be identified.

For an emergency repair we will attend within 24 hours to make safe or within two hours to take immediate action.

A full risk assessment of each emergency repair will be carried out prior to entering the customer’s home, to ensure all Fortem operatives are also kept safe. If it is deemed unsafe to enter the home to carry out the repair, alternative measures will be put in to place to help mitigate the risks until the repair can be safely carried out.

The welfare of our customers is paramount and we will continue to do what we can to support you during these difficult times.

 

Customers living in an Equity sheltered scheme:

We have increased the cleaning provision within your scheme to ensure cleaning processes are regularly carried out to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus amongst customers and their visitors. We have displayed a number of advice posters around the scheme, advising customers of the best practice when washing their hands and coming in to contact with others.

You may also have noticed your Retirement Living Co-ordinator has been spending less time at the scheme. We have been following the latest government guidance with regards to the virus, which advises that where possible people should work from home, again to reduce the risk of the virus spreading further.

Colleagues will still be present to carry out scheme inspections during the week and will still be maintaining daily contact. Morning calls, will still be carried out by your Retirement Living Co-ordinator, for those customers that normally receive a home visit this will now happen in the form of a phone call or through your intercom system, rather than a door knock.

This again is to mitigate the risk of the virus spreading amongst customers.

If you have concerns, please contact either your Retirement Living Co-ordinator or call our Customer Solutions Team on 0300 123 4460.


If you cannot work due to the virus:

If you cannot work due to Coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay you will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of your illness. 

This rule will apply from 13 March 2020. Statutory Sick Pay will be payable if you are staying at home on Government advice, not just if you are infected by Coronavirus. If you need to provide evidence to your employer that you need to stay at home due to Coronavirus, you will soon be able to get it from NHS 111 Online instead of having to get a Fit Note from your doctor.

If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit and/or apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance. You can also apply for these if you are prevented from working because of a risk to public health.

This link may also be helpful to those customers on welfare benefits - https://www.greatplaces.org.uk/for-customers/coronavirus-and-welfare-benefits

We have produced a number of Frequently Asked Questions to help you with your money worries and concerns -  FAQ Coronavirus and Rent

 

Armitt House closure:

In-line with the most up-to-date government advice, we will be closing Armitt House to colleagues and customers from 5pm on Tuesday 17 March. Contact details remain the same for customers, these can be found on our website via our contact us pages, alternatively you can contact our Customer Solutions Team on 0300 123 4460 or email customersolutions@equityhousing.co.uk

 

SK Eight coffee shop:

Following recent advice from the government, we have now decided that it is an appropriate time to close SK Eight to help mitigate the spread of the virus and those risks associated with having large numbers of people in close proximity to each other.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and as soon as we are in a position to reopen - we will let customers know.

 

Equity Living Estate Agency:

Our in-house estate agency will also be closed from 5pm on Tuesday 17 March. The team are still working remotely and can still be contacted by calling 0161 486 7700 or emailing sales@equityliving.co.uk

Alternatively, please visit their website at www.equityliving.co.uk

 

Contact details changes:

If you have changed your phone number or email address recently, please contact us on 0300 123 4460 to make sure we have the correct contact information on our system.  This will help to ensure you receive all communications as quickly as possible.

For further information on Coronavirus you can access Government guidance at  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public