Coronavirus Q&A

Repairs

Q. How can I report a repair?

A. Our reception service is closed, so the best way for you to let us know about a repair is by contacting us on live chat, email us on hello@forhousing.co.uk, 0300 123 5522.

Q. Are you still carrying out all repairs?

A. From 1st June, we re-started our routine repairs service. Everything that we do will be with the health and safety of you, your community, and our colleagues in mind.

If you’ve already logged a repair, then you don’t need to do anything. We’ll be in contact with you to arrange a date that works best for you. Please bear with us as we work through and catch up with the jobs reported over the last couple of months. It may take us a little longer than usual to complete non-essential repairs.

To find out more about our routine repair service, or what you need to do if you, or someone in your household are currently shielding, click here.

Q. Why are you still visiting my home to do gas and electrical checks?

A. We are following Government advice and currently it’s still safe for us to visit your home to ensure that your gas and electrical certificates are up to date. These checks are a necessary, legal check to make sure that your appliances and boiler are safe and everything in your home is in working order.

We are doing everything we can to protect you and the team from the virus and will make sure you stay safe whilst we carry out the appointment, so please do let us in. No one from ForHousing who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, or who should be “shielding”, are visiting tenants homes and we ask that you let us know if you, or anyone in your household, is feeling unwell before we visit.

Rent & money advice

Q. I pay my rent in cash. If I’m self-isolating, what should I do if I can’t leave my house?

A. We have different ways for you to pay which you can find here. However, if you can’t do this, please contact us and we will be happy to give you individual advice.

We know this is a really challenging time so don’t worry, once we’ve agreed a plan with you, we’ll be here to help you.

Q. I am unable to attend my job centre appointment due to restrictions. What should I do?

A. You’re not the only one and we understand how this can be worrying. The Department for Works & Pensions have stopped all face-to-face appointments for now. You can find more information about the range of extra support and measures the Government has put in place to help here.

Q. Will there be any ‘rent relief’ for tenants who are unable to work due to coronavirus and who won’t receive a salary during that time?

A. If your income is affected by the virus we can help you to claim benefits to cover your housing costs. If your costs are not covered by any benefits you may be entitled to, please get in touch and we will come to an agreement to help you manage through this difficult period.

The money we receive as rent is really important and allows us to carry out emergency repairs and maintenance work, as well as helping us to provide general support and the essential services for those who need it most. Please don’t be afraid to let us know if you need further support – we care and we’re here to help.

Q. Will we still receive service chargeable services e.g. grounds maintenance? If not, will the charge be waived until the services are reinstated?

A. If we have to interrupt services for which you would normally pay, we will not charge you.

Q. What if I am unable to pay rent due to financial difficulties?

A. If you have lost your job, or had your pay reduced, we urge you to follow this advice for how to claim Universal Credit.

If you have had to go on sick leave and you’re not entitled to sick pay by your employer, this may mean you are eligible to claim Statutory Sick Pay.

We understand that this is an extremely challenging time and if you are concerned about managing your money, or need someone to talk to about your finances, please get in touch with us. We will be able to help you find the best route for you and your needs. We have also pulled together this helpful page that will guide you through all the finance and budgeting measures the Government are providing.

Q. What if my gas or electricity runs out and I have a pre-payment meter. I am unable to go out to top this up and/or I don’t have the income to top up?

A. Please contact your supplier immediately to discuss how they can keep your supply up and running. Ofgem recommends that you leave your meter box unlocked so that someone else can top up your meter if needed. If you have a smart meter, you should be able to top-up remotely, on telephone, the mobile app or your supplier’s website.

Extra Care & Supported Housing

Q. How will the meals in your extra care schemes be affected?

A. We care about your health and wellbeing and are following Government guidelines and advice to put measures into place to reduce the spread of the virus. Because of this, we will be closing the canteen and delivering meals to your room for the time-being.

Q. I live in one of your extra care schemes. Am I allowed visitors?

A. We are allowing family and informal carers to deliver essential and urgent supplies but are asking them to follow the Government guidance and to please leave these outside of your apartment door, standing at least two metres away, and to not go inside.

We understand that this will be difficult but we are committed to keeping you and the other residents in your scheme, as safe as possible and this is a crucial step in reducing the spread of the virus.

We have contacted your family and carers to let them know about the changes and we will be checking with them before they enter the building that they or someone they live with, haven’t been experiencing symptoms.

Q. Will the activities in my scheme still be running as normal?

A. In all ForHousing extra care and sheltered housing schemes, we have stopped all activities and closed communal spaces. We understand how important this space is to you, and other tenants, and this has not been an easy decision for us to make.

Please understand that we are taking every measure possible to keep you, and your community, safe. We know that this could have an impact on your wellbeing, and to help combat this we will be asking if you would like to share your contact number with other tenants within your scheme to enable you to stay in touch with each other.

Keeping you happy, healthy and feeling well is extremely important to us. We will continue to look at other creative ways that we can support and help you to maintain your friendships and stay connected during this difficult time.

Q. I usually attend some activities outside my scheme. Now that I have to self isolate, will you be running more activities to replace these?

A. No, we are following the Government guideline on social distancing and encouraging you to self-isolate immediately for the safety of you, and your community within the scheme.

Q. I live in a sheltered/extra care scheme and my family live far away and usually post care packages to me. Are my family allowed to post items like food and gifts while I have to self isolate?

A. Yes, your family can still send you post and gifts whilst you are self-isolating. We will leave any packages outside of your door for you.

Q. Will staff still be working at my scheme?

A. Yes, we are here for you. You may see reduced staffing levels while we support our colleagues to follow Government guidance, but there will always be someone available for you to get in touch with.

Support & services

Q. I need someone to come to my home and assist me, are you still doing home visits?

A. We are trying to reduce face-to-face contact as much as possible to keep both you, and our colleagues, healthy and safe and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. If there is an emergency, or a reason why we cannot support you over the phone, we will come out to your home.

However, it’s very important for you to let us know if you, or anyone else in your household, have been feeling unwell with a bad cough, high fever, or breathlessness.

Q. Will I still receive TESS (Tenants Extra Support Scheme) support?

A. Yes, TESS will continue to provide support to tenants and customers. Your Tenancy Support & Sustainment Officer will be carrying out support sessions over the telephone and will only conduct home appointments if absolutely essential. One of our colleagues will ring you in advance to check if anyone within the household is experiencing any symptoms. If so, the home visit will not take place and telephone calls will continue.

Q. I am self-isolating and have no support to get food, medication, etc. Can ForHousing help?

A. We know that it can be difficult to source things during this time and we are here to help. We have a number of services that are available that can offer additional support. Please contact us and we will be able to give you further advice based on your circumstances.

Q. Is there any way I can help others? For example, getting groceries for people who are self isolating?

A. Yes, the NHS are asking for volunteers to support vulnerable people in your community. There is a range of roles varying from shopping, collecting medication and transporting people to hospital appointments to contacting people who are isolated and at risk of loneliness.

You will need to be fit and well to volunteer. Visit this website for more information and to fill out a form to apply.

Health & cleanliness

Q. I think I may have the virus. What should I do?

A. If you are feeling unwell, or are experiencing a high fever, persistent cough and breathlessness, you should follow the NHS direct guidelines, which you can find here.

Q. Will bin collections still be continuing as usual?

A. We’re sorry but bin collections are not a ForHousing responsibility, they are run by your local authority. You can find all the information you need for your area on this dedicated page on our website.

Offices

Q. Are you still working normal office hours?

A. We are still working to our normal hours, however following Government guidelines, all staff are working away from the office, and where possible at home, and due to high demand, there may be a short wait time when you try to contact us.

Q. Will staff working from home have an affect on the service you provide me?

A. No. We already had an agile working policy in place before this period, and we have all the necessary equipment and support to allow our staff to fully function and perform their jobs from home. You will still receive a friendly, helpful, and efficient service from us..

Q. Am I able to still visit a ForHousing office if I don’t have any symptoms?

A. Our offices are now closed for both staff, and visitors, but we are still here to support you. If you need to chat to us or book an appointment please contact the service centre on live chat, email us at hello@forhousing.co.uk, or call us on 0300 123 5522.

Q. Do I need to tell you if I am self-isolating due to symptoms or if I have underlying health conditions?

A. We would ask that you notify us if you, or a member of your household, are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus or been tested and confirmed to have the coronavirus. You do not need to notify us if you are self-isolating, or “shielding” due to age or underlying health conditions.