For the latest updates about our response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) please check our COVID-19 information and support pages.
A letter from Steve Tucker, Managing Director, to all SHP residents (Thurday 19 March 2020)
I am writing to all SHP residents to explain how we are maintaining services and support for residents at this very difficult and anxious time. I want to assure you that everyone at SHP is wholly committed to maintaining all essential services to residents and staff are working hard to achieve this.
Our aim in the weeks and months ahead is to focus on the wellbeing of residents and enabling residents to access practical assistance for those who need help. In particular we are making contact with and looking out for vulnerable residents.
This letter explains how SHP is planning to maintain services and stay in contact with you to provide assurance and support in the weeks and months ahead.
Public health guidance
All residents and your families must follow the public health guidance and government advice to reduce transmission of the virus:
Washing your hands thoroughly (20 seconds) and regularly
If you cough or sneeze then do this into a tissue and bin it immediately
Self-isolation - We recommend you follow the latest Goverment advice about self-isolation.
We are asking residents to let us know when you are self-isolating so we can adjust how we deliver services to you. The latest government advice is available on the NHS website.
Resident contact and planning ahead
In order to prevent spread of the virus, SHP staff will follow a plan in advance of contact with residents. Where we have in the past emphasised the value of face to face contact, in current circumstances we have to minimise this and do as much as possible by phone, email or online wherever practicable.
The Community Hubs and drop-ins have been suspended as have events that we were facilitating in communal lounges. Where we do still need to visit or meet with a resident then we will check in advance that they are not unwell or self-isolating.
If you are at home and in isolation with the virus suspected then, except for urgent matters, we will avoid visiting but take steps to check that they do have access to family or other support. Routine matters can be communicated over the phone and visits may be postponed until residents are well and out of isolation.
We have begun to identify who amongst our tenants may need additional help, advice or guidance at this time and we will be making contact with them by phone.
We are also writing to all tenants to explain the changes we are making to service delivery and asking them to let us know if we can help. For example, some tenants have been in touch to tell us that they are self-isolating and this enables us to adjust how we provide services to them.
Repairs and gas servicing
Services such as repairs and gas servicing depend upon a visit and we are now checking systematically before arrival to confirm there is no illness or self-isolation at the property. In these cases the visit can proceed with the usual precautions in place around hand and respiratory hygiene.
Where an emergency repair is needed that potentially affects life and limb and someone is ill or self-isolating at a property then operatives will wear protective clothing and equipment. Upon arrival they will ask you to unlock the front door and retire to a separate room with the door closed, whereupon the repair will be carried out. Careful disposal or cleaning of protective items will be undertaken.
Maintaining services and looking out for residents
We are continuing with estate walkabouts and inspections and ask residents to identify any issues to us in advance rather than invite you to accompany us on the walkabouts.
SHP residents depend upon our caretakers, gardeners and from 1 April 2020 our repairs and grass cutting teams, who are transferring from Mears and Glendales respectively, to look after their homes and estates and we will continue to be a visible and active presence in the community.
Our presence locally and at our Sutton Gate office will enable us to pick up on and look out for any residents who may be struggling. We are working closely with the Council and partner organisations to coordinate the support that is available and to channel it to those in need.
SHP is following all the latest government and public health advice to delay transmission of the virus and to keep people safe, including the Prime Minister’s new advice about working from home where possible. We are introducing some home working for those teams where this is feasible and will not compromise service delivery.
We are aware that possible staff absence or self-isolation in the weeks ahead could lead to some service disruption and we will keep you informed if this may delay your service or repair request.
Keeping hope and spirits up
As your landlord we want to give reassurance and leadership at this time, and encourage you to follow advice on how to stay well and weather this adversity in the knowledge that things will get back to normal.
You can still call, text or email your Housing Manager directly if you need to communicate with them and we really do want to hear from you about how you are getting on.
Thank you for playing your very important part in this and please be assured that SHP is with you all the way.