Update on our services: 20 May

***We’re working hard to continue delivering services throughout the coronavirus pandemic and to support our customers – in particular those who most need our help.

On our dedicated website page you will find information about where to find support as well as details of our current service levels.***

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I hope you and your families are continuing to stay safe and well in these challenging times.

The first steps towards exiting the lockdown have begun, with the immediate lifting of some restrictions in England and the promise of more ahead. This morning the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has released a letter to all social housing residents in England, outlining advice and support that has been put in place by Government during the coronavirus crisis.

The letter written by Housing Minister, Chris Pincher highlights areas around keeping you safe and supporting you. The full letter is available to view here. The letter also has some further links to some addition Government advice and support that is available to you.

We recognise you’re keen to know how and when various services will get back to normal. For example, we’re getting ready to start to begin to work on the backlog of repairs and we’ll get in touch if we’ve already offered you a home, you’re waiting for confirmation about a mutual exchange or you have an existing repair that you’ve already reported.

We’re continually reviewing the Government information and what it means for each aspect of our service. Our priority at all times is to help you, our colleagues and wider communities stay safe.

Our repairs teams are working and available to complete all emergency and essential safety repairs in and around your home. We’re also carrying out regular safety checks; these include gas and electric checks inside your home and other inspections externally including lifts, water and fire safety. With more people at home for longer periods, fire safety is more important than ever.

We’re committed to ensuring our customers are getting the help, support, and advice they need. We’ve continued to deliver full frontline services in our supported and retirement settings and, where we can’t be there in person, are making regular welfare calls to other vulnerable residents.

On other areas of our business; our Income team are busy providing customers with guidance on Universal Credit, debt and budget management, and advice on keeping rent payments up to date. Where customers have been particularly financially affected by the pandemic, the team are also working with them to agree affordable, flexible payment plans if they're struggling to pay rent.

While we’ve adapted our lettings service, we are still helping people find much needed homes in this time of crisis. In particular, our specialist teams are doing amazing work to support those at risk of domestic abuse. Sadly, as you may have seen in the media, this is becoming an increasing issue. While many other services providers are scaling back, or even closing their doors, I’m proud that Stonewater is continuing to offer vital help, through creative solutions, for those in most need.

Every day we are reviewing the Government’s latest guidelines to help us make the right decisions, which put the health, safety and well-being of our customers, colleagues and contractors first. We understand and share many of the worries you may have – keeping safe, protecting others, managing finances, caring for our families and feeling there are many more questions than answers presented at this extraordinary time.

More than ever before, our homes are our sanctuary. The coronavirus crisis has helped bring out the best in people and our communities and we are proud to play our part in helping those in need during this unprecedented time.

Nicholas Harris

*Stonewater is still ‘open’ however the majority of our colleagues are now working from home. You can still contact us using our main telephone number 01202 319 119, or customers can self-serve via our MyHome portal.