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Coronavirus - information for THH residents

Information and advice about THH services during the covid-19

(this page was last updated on 10 June 2021)

 

As the coronavirus situation continues to change rapidly we are having to make adjustments to our services.  We will continue to update you about how our services  are operating. The list below contains information about most of our services which have changed temporarily. 

Changes to our services

To protect our staff and provide the best possible service to our residents who may be affected by coronavirus, have caring responsibilities or travel restrictions, we have made changes to our services.

Support for residents during the coronavirus period

There are several ways we can help residents through the coronvirus period. We have three community hubs providing support for elderly and vulnerable residents and a Financial Health Centre to advise on money, benefits, training and employment. Get more information about this on our coronavirus support pages here.

Longer waiting times for telephone calls

Customers may experience longer call waiting times than usual when contacting us by telephone. We encourage everyone to access our online services through MyTHH wherever possible.

Domestic abuse - you're not alone

If you're in danger, please know that you're not alone. If you or someone you know is at risk of, or suffering domestic abuse, help is still available.

We are committed to protecting the support we give to victims of domestic abuse. We also want to reassure you that the government's household isolation guidance, as a result of coronavirus, does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.

Remember, in an emergency always call 999. If you’re in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and then press 55. This will transfer your call to local police who will assist you without you having to speak.

If you are concerned that a friend or neighbour is experiencing domestic abuse, always call 999 in an emergency, otherwise call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report it anonymously.

Other useful numbers include:

Tower Hamlets Solace Women's Aid – 020 3795 5064

Victim Support, 24-hour service - 0808 1689 111

National Domestic Violence Helpline (free safety advice and refuge space advice), 24-hour service - 0808 2000 247

You can read more about all of the different support services that are available across the borough here.

Rents

We know this is a time of huge uncertainty. Some of you will no doubt be worried about being able to manage to pay your rent and bills during this time.

The government announced that they will protect renters, but this does not specifically allow a ‘rent holiday’. Rent will continue to be charged and you will still be liable for paying this as a tenant, but we will be working even more closely with you now to fully understand your individual circumstances, provide specialist advice and support to maximise your income during this time. If you do fall into arrears because of the situation, we will work with you to put in place realistic and affordable future payment arrangements.

We urge you to contact the rents team as soon as possible if you experience or expect to experience difficulties in meeting your rent payments or other financial commitments. The government have put measures in place to protect jobs and income so we will explore all of this with you and ensure that you are not missing out.

We are committed that we will not take any legal action because of rent arrears against any customers affected by Coronavirus during the next three months and again urge you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

We will be able to take calls for urgent questions only and would appreciate it if questions about things like rent balances could be done online at my.thh.org.uk

Repairs service

Our Housing Service Centre is still experiencing high volumes of calls and therefore we would encourage you to report non-emergency repairs online at MyTHH. You will also be able to check the progress of existing repairs.

Emergency repairs

For all emergencies, please continue to contact us by telephone in the normal way on 020 7364 5015.

Working safely in your home

Repairs operatives working in your home will be required to operate safely and will be following the guidelines recently issued by the Government. You can read these here.

Working safely will include communicating with your household prior to arrival to ensure that you understand the social distancing and hygiene measures that must be followed as the work commences.

Please note, there are still some types of repairs that cannot yet be carried out e.g. where a job requires two repairs operatives, and observing social distancing is difficult. Our officers will advise you if this is the case.

THH will ensure that repairs operatives understand their obligations and are safely equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including gloves and respiratory equipment such as face masks where appropriate. Full PPE will not be required in all cases.

There may be delays in responding to your request at this time and we would ask for your understanding and patience.

Services for leaseholders

Uncontainable leaks – our normal policy is to identify the leak and advise the leaseholder to get their own contractor to repair. During the pandemic, if THH contractors identify a straightforward source of a leak and are able to repair it during that visit, they will.

What we are not doing

  • Major brick and wall repairs
  • Major paving or larger slab repairs
  • Major roofing works
  • Internal repairs that are not an emergency

We are unable to carry out jobs that need two or more operatives if social distancing cannot be guaranteed; and we will not be fitting aids and adaptations recommended by occupational therapy.

Major Works

We now hold online meetings and offer multiple walkabouts in line with the rule of six.

Some works have been extended due to restrictions and social distancing, but contractor’s activities are in line with the government and industry procedures. 

Housing management

The Neighbourhoods team is:

  • providing emergency rehousing after incidents in THH homes such as fires and floods.
  • working with the council to help new tenants move in and making sure is the time properties are empty is kept to a minimum.
  • meeting applicants for viewings and sign-ups for newly built homes.
  • holding monthly estate inspections and working with residents to clear obstructions and hazardous items.
  • Supporting vulnerable adults and children to keep them safe from harm. Helping residents report concerns to the right agencies and where appropriate carrying out investigations.
  • contacting tenants with rent arrears and agreeing affordable repayments.
  • keeping regular contact with tenant and resident associations.

Neighbourhoods officers are providing housing management services, responding to online and telephone enquiries and following up casework with residents by phone or email when more action is needed. The rents team is taking calls and contacting residents with rent arrears to understand their circumstances and agree affordable repayments, give advice on income and discretionary housing payments, and make referrals to the Financial Health Centre.

 Caretaking

Caretakers will be changing their duties to focus on key tasks, such as ensuring fire safety. We will assess the needs of each block and estate weekly according to staff availability and service requirements. Caretakers are focusing on the following key areas:

- Increased cleaning of areas such as communal entry doors, lifts, door handles and banisters

- Health and safety checks in blocks and spot cleaning where necessary

- Removal of bulk rubbish from communal areas

- Keeping bin areas and chute rooms tidy 

Financial Health Centre

Following easing of some coronavirus restrictions we are pleased that we are able to open our Financial Health Centre, currently on an appointment only basis to ensure staff and customer safety.

If residents need urgent help or advice on benefits, universal credit, debt, housing or other financial issues drop in to book an appointment or contact us on 0207 364 2200 or at fhc@thh.org.uk Phone lines are open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm.

Please note you will not be able to see an advisor without an appointment.

We continue to work with residents to keep community food gardens open, in a COVID secure way, and as a result, residents are able to enjoy time outside of their homes when it was needed most. 

Anti-social behaviour

We are reviewing our services every day, so please check this page for the latest updates of follow us on Twitter, @THHomes.

In the meantime please help us by following our Coronavirus advice. The latest health updates are available from Barts Health Trust and contains information on community languages. 

Complaints

If you have concerns regarding the service you receive from us, please give us an opportunity to put things right for you by emailing contactus@thh.org.uk

Sometimes we do get things wrong so if after contacting us we have not resolved your concerns and you wish to make a formal complaint, please make an online submission using the e-form on the THH website - www@towerhamletshomes.org.uk or email us at contactus@thh.org.uk

As most of our back-office staff are still working remotely, our ability to receive and send post continues to be limited. For us to respond to your complaint please provide an email address and an up to date telephone number.

As we gradually come out of the lock down there will inevitably be a backlog of repairs and follow on works. If you have an existing complaint and you still have outstanding repair, you should already have received a phone call to get any outstanding works booked in for completion. If this is not the case, please send an email to contactus and we will get this booked in for you. We appreciate your patience whilst we work through the backlog. 

Better Neighbourhoods works

We are continuing to carry out our major repair works to housing blocks and estates where it is safe to do so in line with government guidelines during the Coronavirus epidemic.

The Government has advised that essential works can continue, and we are making sure that the safety of our residents and workforce is our highest priority. We will ensure that we make any changes to our work practices if government guidelines change.

We will ensure that we follow government guidelines around travel, social-distancing and hygiene. We are following the latest guidance and advice from the construction industry and from Public Health England.

What we are doing to minimise risk

We have put in place the following measures to managed risks associated with Covid 19:

  • Reviewing all building works on site with the aim of suspending any non-essential works which involve direct contact with residents
  • Suspending any capital works which are not essential and involve direct contact with residents
  • Ensuring contractors have suitably revised their work practices to take into account the 2m social distancing rule
  • Ensuring contractors are continuing to take suitable precautions in terms of Personal Protective Equipment; (both in relation to COVID-19 and other risks, for example dust)
  • Carrying out additional checks on the security arrangements around sites to prevent unauthorised access
  • Ensuring contractors carry out additional cleaning around blocks where they are working.

Access into your home

We will only ask for access into your home if it is absolutely necessary and will always talk to you first whilst observing the recommended social distancing measures.

If we do need enter your home, we will ensure all staff is wearing the correct personal protective clothing required.

More information

Residents Liaison Officers (RLOs) operate at all of our sites and the contactor will have provided you these details. The RLOs are the first point of contact for residents who would like help or have questions about the work.

If you require any further information, please contact THH resident liaison coordinator.

If you need to find out the details of your RLO or the THH RLC you can do so on our website here

You can also contact us on Property Services (THH) PropertyServicesTHH@towerhamlets.gov.uk