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Coronavirus Update from Almond HA

Statement from the Chief Executive:

ALMOND HOUSING ASSOCIATION OPERATIONS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to close our office from Friday, 20th March for the foreseeable future. This decision has been made following the government recommendation to stop all non-essential contact with others, and to protect our staff, our tenants, and our services.

The government has advised people to avoid all non-essential contact to prevent the spreading of the Coronavirus. This means that although we do not have any known cases of Coronavirus throughout our staff, we must take the precautionary measure of closing the office to prevent our staff and our tenants and our contractors from catching the virus where possible.

From Monday 23rd March all of our staff will be working from home. This will be the first stage of our business continuity plan and we hope it will allow us to continue to run as normally as we possibly can – simply call our office on 01506 439291 and you will be directed to the most appropriate member of staff. Please note that while we are doing all we can to avoid disruption to our service, these calls and transfers may take slightly longer with our staff working from different locations. We are working extremely hard to keep the service running smoothly but please bear with us as we make these changes.

We hope that we will be able to continue with this first stage for as long as possible, however that will depend on the spread of infection amongst our staff, our tenants and our contractors. In the event that any of these groups are affected to a point where it becomes difficult to maintain this level of service, we will move to Stage 2 of our business continuity plan.

Stage 2 will mean that we provide a restricted service, so there may be a halt to Capital Works Projects, less allocations, no mutual exchanges or transfers. When we move to Stage 2 we will notify all tenants via our website and on social media.

In the event that we are not able to deliver services at Stage 2, we will move to Stage 3. Stage 3 is the final stage of our business continuity plan and it will mean that we move to an emergency only repairs service provided by our third party call handlers and our reactive repairs contractors. We hope that we will be able to avoid Stage 3, but we want to be clear with all of our tenants about what steps we’ve taken to ensure the delivery of key services throughout the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Almond HA will continue to follow the latest government advice and we will adapt our strategy to fit with the guidelines provided. Please see our website and social media channels for regular updates.

If you have any of the symptoms outlined by the government, please begin the self-isolation process and remember to let us know. You can get in touch with us by calling 01506 439291 or emailing enquiries@almondha.org.uk.

We understand that this is an uncertain time for many people and we are here to help in any way we can. In the event that you feel you may have difficulty paying your rent, please contact your Housing Officer to discuss your situation.

We wish you all the best during this difficult time and look forward to resuming our face-to-face services as soon as possible. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.

George Webster,

Chief Executive

Are you open?

Our office is closed but our phone lines and services are still running. The phone lines are open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8.30am - 5pm and Wednesday and Friday 8.30am - 3.30pm.

Please see our latest service updates for information on services that have been temporarily stopped.

What measures do you have in place to protect tenants and the public?

We have closed our office following government advice to try and prevent to spreading of Coronavirus. We have also stopped home visits during this time. Our staff are working from home and we are liasing with contractors to ensure the safety of all. We have also asked tenants to notify us if they are self-isolating by emailing enquiries@almondha.org.uk.

Are you worried about a case within your team?

No, we have not had any confirmed cases in our staff team. Our staff are working remotely and the majority of our home visits will now be ceased, to stop the potential spread of the illness. If you need more information please call us on 01506 439291 or email enquiries@almondha.org.uk.

I'm not feeling well, can you help?

We are happy to help in any way that we can, however we are much better at providing help for your housing needs. Please use NHS online for advice on the Coronavirus. Remember to let us know if you are self-isolating by emailing enquiries@almondha.org.uk.

I can't make it to work, therefore can't pay my rent - what happens next?

We understand that this is an uncertain time for many people and we are here to support in any way we can. In the event that you feel you may have difficulty paying your rent, please contact your Housing Officer to discuss your situation. If you need support during this time, we can provide support for your finances and support with your tenancy.

I'm worried about my tenancy, where can I get help?

We provide services that can give you support for your tenancy and support with your finances.

Where can I get financial support?

If you are experiencing financial hardship during this time, get in touch with your housing officer for a referral to our Benefits and Income Maximisation worker, Drew, who can give support with your finances.

I can't find groceries, can you help?

As far as we are aware, most shops are operating as usual however there may be restrictions in the number of items you can buy and the number of people allowed in the a shop at one time. If you are struggling to find the essentials, local independent shops may have stock. Please remember to only take what you need so there is enough for everyone.

Is the community fridge open?

Riverside Community Fridge in Craigshill is open on Thursdays from 9.30am-12.30pm and Ladywell Community Fridge is open on Fridays from 1pm-3.30pm. Anyone in need can attend during opening hours. You do not need to be a tenant of Almond HA and you do not need a referral.

Please check the help from your community webpage for the most up to date information.