Coronavirus Update – August 2021

Coronavirus Update – August 2021

Coronavirus Update – August 2021

Everyone at GCH hopes you have continued to stay safe and well during the Pandemic, which has been a mighty challenge for us all. We thank you for your support and patience over the last 18 months as we have worked through this together. 

Despite mandatory Government COVID restrictions easing, due to the continued rising infection rates in Gloucester, we have chosen to maintain our COVID safe measures to minimise the risk to our tenants and staff. 

As a result, we are asking you to continue to co-operate with us and uphold our existing COVID safe measures, so that we can keep you, your family and our staff as safe as possible and maintain your services by reducing the transmission of COVID. 

From the 19th July 2021 we will continue with our COVID working safely commitment in place;

What our services look like

Repairs, Maintenance and Health & Safety Checks: We continue to provide a full repairs service and ensure that your homes comply with required health and safety checks such as gas servicing and electrical testing. We ask you to work with us to ensure these can be booked in and completed as required. If we experience staff resource issues, we will prioritise essential and emergency repairs.

When we come into your home, we will ensure that yours and our staffs health and safety is the key priority, and our teams will continue to wear full personal protective equipment.

Home improvements:  Home improvement works to properties continue and we will contact you directly to agree how the works will be completed whist maintaining safe working practices.

We will agree appropriate arrangements with you when we carry out home improvements such as replacing a kitchen or bathroom and will ask you to sign a form to confirm that you are aware of the COVID-safe requirements that both you and our contractors must follow.

External work in our communities: Our Estate Services team will continue with their normal duties, working safely to improve our outdoor communal areas. Outdoor planned works such as new fencing will also continue.

Housing & Letting Services: Our staff will work from home and will only attend home visits or undertake welfare checks where these are essential and must be carried out in person. Lettings will continue in a COVID safe way.

GCH Railway House Reception: Our reception at Railway House is now open for appointments only. Please note that we cannot accept walk in requests and this will continue as our normal arrangements in the long term, as our usual service going forward.

Independent Living: Our Independent Living Team are back working on site but are still adhering to social distancing and wearing PPE. Please continue to maintain a safe distance between yourself and our Officers. Scheme communal lounges are now open with extra hygiene measures in place and clear guidance for residents to use the areas as safely as possible.

Rent Payments: Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. The government has a package of financial support available to tenants, and where they can pay the rent as normal, they should do. If you are experiencing financial difficulty you should continue to prioritise your rent payments and contact our Tenancy Sustainment team for support and advice. We will continue to respond to our customer enquiries and talk to you about your tenancy and rental payments, providing you with the necessary support and advice over the phone or online.

Community Support: Since March 2020 we have worked closely with a wide range of community groups and partners to provide community-based support and we will continue to do so during this period. Details of the support that is in place can be found here and the Gloucester City Council’s website:- www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/gloucestershires-community-help-hub/

We will start to hold small community events with COVID safe measures in place.

What you must tell us before we visit your home

To enable us to work safely in your home, you must:

  • Tell us if you or a member of your household is clinically extremely vulnerable, clinically vulnerable or has a confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) so that we can agree arrangements to deliver essential services.

What you can expect when we visit your home

On your doorstep, we will again ask you to let us know if you or a member of your household is clinically extremely vulnerable, clinically vulnerable or has a confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) so that we can agree arrangements to deliver essential services.

Before attending an appointment at your home, we will contact you and advise on how we intend to deliver the service in a safe manner to the following guidelines and those shown at the end of this information:

  • Our staff wearing the appropriate PPE
  • Following social distancing rules
  • Requiring residents to isolate in a separate room from where the staff member is working for the duration of the visit/works being undertaken.
  • Ensuring that the rooms GCH staff are working in are well ventilated wherever possible

These guidelines have been put in place to ensure the safety of both our staff and residents. If they are not followed our staff have been instructed to leave the property.

GCH Covid-19 Working Safely Commitment

When we provide a service or carry out work in your home we will:

  • Contact you in advance to explain what safety measures will be put in place
  • Restrict work to emergency only in households where customers are symptomatic, self-isolating, clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable (shielding)
  • Carry out all work in line with Government Guidance
  • Observe social distancing and avoid any contact wherever possible
  • Wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment
  • Maintain high levels of personal hygiene (washing hands or using sanitiser before we enter and after we leave your home)
  • Limit the number of staff working in your property
  • Do everything we can to keep customers and colleagues safe

What we need you to do when we visit you or carry out work in your home;

  • Tell us if you are symptomatic, self-isolating, clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable
  • Maintain social distancing wherever possible and throughout the duration of the visit
  • Isolate in a separate room when the staff member attends and for the duration of the visit/works being undertaken
  • Ensure rooms where GCH staff are working are well ventilated wherever possible  
  • Understand that if these safety requirements are not followed that our staff will be required to leave your property.

You can read all of the service update letters we have sent to tenants here.

If you are concerned or need to talk to us about your situation, please call us on 01452 424344 where a member of the team will be happy to speak to you.

Concerns related to Coronavirus affecting employment and paying rent

If you are worried about to pay your rent and bills read our advice here.

If you have any concerns, please get in touch with our friendly Tenancy Sustainment Team. The team are on hand to take payments and set up Direct Debits but we understand you may not want to set up a Direct Debit. If you are concerned about the money not being in your account and being charged, we can set up a Recurring Card payment for you,  this means that there will be no charges from the bank if the money is not in your account.

Please make every effort to pay your rent by whatever means you can and if you are experiencing difficulties
please be assured that we have officers available by phone on 01452 424344 to take phone payments and give advice.

You may wish to sign up for MyGCH where you can make rent payments and view your balances 24/7.