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COVID-19 - Help and Advice

Message from Alastair MacGregor

"Dear Tenant

First of all, I hope you and your families are doing as best you can in these challenging times.

I want to give you a quick update on where we are with services we provide to you and a timeline for the way forward. We started grass cutting 7 weeks ago because it was easier to socially distance, 3 weeks ago we started external repairs which were important to the safety and fabric of our homes. Going forward, we plan to start non-emergency repairs from around 22nd June 2020 but we will be prioritising void properties to start off with. If you have a non-emergency repair that you have kept back from reporting to us, you can report it from 22nd June but your patience would be appreciated as we work through priorities and backlogs. We also plan to start Estate Management inspections the week after next. We have been doing essential servicing within homes since the start of lockdown because it is important that these checks for gas and electrical safety are carried out. A very small number of tenants have refused us entry for these essential works. These works are important for your health and safety so it is really necessary to get access. Our repairs team have all be trained and briefed on social distancing and they would ask you to be in a separate room when essential serving or indeed any other repairs are carried out. These are not easy times but the Association is trying to move forward respecting the guidance issued by the Scottish Government and the scientific and medical advisors.

I hope you find this update helpful but if you require any clarification or further information on what I have covered please contact our Customer Service Centre on 0800 0282 755.

With very best wishes

Alastair"

Click here for a short message to explain how we are working to ensure we can enter your home safely whenever we need to do so in order to provide you with our services.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As we move from one phase to the next reducing the restrictions imposed by the pandemic it can be confusing knowing what the current regulations allow us to do. Check the latest position at the Scottish government website; https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-what-you-can-and-cannot-do/

Service Provision Update

As ACHA follows the Scottish government guidance on the route map back through and out of the crisis, our service provision will change to reflect the restrictions appropriate to the phase determined by the Scottish government.

We are currently in phase three and to reflect this we have made the following changes;

  • We are now addressing all categories of repairs requests not just emergencies. Time will be required to “catch up” with outstanding requests & we appreciate your patience if it takes a little longer to deal with your request.
  • Repairs staff & our contractors have been provided with personal protective equipment & will use these when assessing or carrying out repairs requests. Please observe social distancing to allow them to carry out their tasks safely.
  • Housing & Neighbourhood services staff have restarted Estate inspections across Argyll. If you see them out & about, please do not approach them as during phase two they will not be visiting tenants at home but will be available for advice by phone or e mail through the normal channels, calling our Customer Service Centre on 0800 028 2755 or via email: achacustomerservicecentre@acha.co.uk.
  • Our play parks have reopened however we would encourage parents to supervise their children’s use of the facilities to ensure social distancing & encourage children to use other equipment if their preference is in use. Children must be told not to put their hands near their face after touching equipment & must wash their hands thoroughly after leaving the park. We thank you for using the facilities responsibly.
  • Our offices are still closed for public access & will remain so until they can safely reopen for staff & public use.
  • The allocation of new tenancies is being carried out on a priority basis and staff are currently working through the waiting lists.
  • Many of our staff remain working remotely but this will not affect service delivery.
  • We will continue to review our service provision as Scottish government advice is released. Please follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Argyll-Community-Housing-Association-ACHA-Group-374434479862512/ or consult our website for the latest information.

Payment of Creditor Invoices

To assist ACHA in making timely payments to all our suppliers and contractors during the current COVID-19 restrictions, then we are asking for all invoices to be emailed in electronic format to the relevant ACHA Group employee, rather than a hard copy being posted to our office locations. This will assist greatly in dealing with any payment timeously.

Where individual ACHA employee email addresses are not known then suppliers and contractors should email the invoice to creditor.invoices@acha.co.uk including as much information as possible with the email/invoice (i.e. ACHA Contact Name / Officer dealing with, Purchase Order Number, full description of service provided). Our Finance staff will then endeavour to pass this on to the relevant ACHA member of staff for checking and approval as quickly as possible.

In this difficult time the ACHA Group will do all it can to ensure your invoices are paid as quickly as possible. You assistance in following the above guidance will help us to achieve this.

Sheltered Housing

The following measures are taking immediate effect within ACHA’s Sheltered Housing complexes:

  • ACHA Community Support Assistants will not be in the complexes. However, we will still be checking on the wellbeing our tenants via telephone call. It is vital at this time that every tenant answers our calls.
  • We strongly urge tenants not to invite visitors to the Sheltered Housing complexes until further notice for their own safety.
  • Carer agency and health care workers will still be attending complexes.
  • ACHA staff can still be contacted via telephone on 0800 028 2755, your local ACHA office number or by emails. Click the following links for full details on how to (Contact Us) or for further guidance click this link

Gypsy/Travellers Scotland: Coronavirus Information

In a joint initiative, The Scottish Government together with their partners in COSLA, Article 12 in Scotland, MECOPP, Progress in Dialogue and STEP have developed a Facebook page to provide up-to-date information on the Coronavirus to the Gypsy/Traveller Community in Scotland. Click the following link to their page: https://www.facebook.com/GypsyTravellers-ScotlandCoronavirus-information-100442048272006/

Welfare Rights

The spread of coronavirus could have implications for your work and benefits. If you are worried about a change in circumstances due to loss of earnings, please contact 0800 028 2755 or email welfarerights@acha.co.uk to arrange a call from one of our Welfare Rights Officers. We can assist with income maximisation and tenancy sustainment issues. It is important you keep in touch with ACHA if you are experiencing problems paying your rent.

You can find useful information/advice by clicking on the following link:

Coronavirus – Benefit advice. Frequently Asked Questions

Domestic Abuse Advice

Don't suffer in silence for help during the lockdown follow the link below

https://www.womensaid.org.uk/covid-19-coronavirus-safety-advice-for-survivors/

Coronavirus Caring for People Helpline Service

The Caring for People helpline is available for individuals living in Argyll and Bute who are self-isolating/vulnerable and whose usual support network is no longer available. By contacting the helpline, the Caring for People team can provide the right assistance, working with organisations and volunteers in our communities. If you need help for yourself, or someone you know please call 01546 605 524 or visit https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/coronavirus/help-for-communities#group

There is also a helpline information leaflet.

NHS Information and Symptoms Checker

https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus

Looking after your Health and Wellbeing

Now more than ever, it is essential to keep active. Advice on a healthy body & mind including financial help can be found here

Scottish Government - Coronavirus in Scotland

https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

Hand Washing Advice from BBC News

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-51637561/coronavirus-watch-how-germs-spread

NHS 24 Active Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Channels for Coronavirus in Scotland

https://twitter.com/NHS24
https://www.facebook.com/NHS24
https://www.instagram.com/nhs24.scot/

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