COVID-19 - Your health and safety is our priority
Updated at 5pm on Tuesday 17 March 2020
At Beyond Housing, the health, wellbeing and safety of our customers is our top priority.
During this time of public health concern, we want to reassure you we are taking every measure possible. We are monitoring the developing situation extremely closely and we’re following all advice issued by the government and Public Health England.
What is the impact on our service levels?
At this time we are continuing to provide essential services.
In line with the government advice to limit non-essential travel and interaction, we are reviewing the way we interact with customers by limiting face-to-face contact and moving to telephone appointments and communicating via digital services. This includes appointments with our Communities, Income Management, Employability and Benefit Advice teams.
From Wednesday 18 March our housing offices are closed to the public and available for telephone appointments only, except in extenuating circumstances. We can still accept keys and carry out property viewings with increased hygiene precautions, but these will need to be prearranged by appointment.
Repairs and independent living response services will be limited to emergency services only.
If you do have an urgent reason to contact us that means someone needs to come to your home, our advisors will need to ask you more questions than usual when taking your enquiry.
We will ask if you:
- Have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Are currently self-isolating
- Are showing symptoms of coronavirus, such as a new, continuous cough, high temperature, or shortness of breath.
We will always continue to undertake emergency repairs, gas and other safety checks and need you to work with us to enable these services can be undertaken safely. Read more about the changes to our repair policy due to the coronavirus here.
If you have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and need an emergency repair, our operatives will wash their hands and sanitise before coming into your home and before they leave. They will also wear masks, overalls and gloves. We will ask all family members to be in a different room for the duration of the repair. All masks, overalls and gloves will be safely disposed of.
Our operatives have been instructed to wear personal protective equipment in your home and we would ask that you move into an alternative room from which they will be working to complete your repair/service. We would also be grateful if our operatives could use your facilities to wash their hands once the works have been completed.
All community events and activities in communal areas have been cancelled until further notice. This includes activities at Westfield Farm in Dormanstown, which has temporarily closed to the public, and The Dunes extra care scheme in Redcar, which is on lockdown to non-essential visitors.
What may happen next?
If the impact of the coronavirus increases, we may have to reduce the scope of works that we will be able to safely undertake.
If needed we will look to reduce or stop the other works we undertake such as capital improvements, planned maintenance and tailor these programmes to ensure the wellbeing of all involved.
For the next few months we will be changing the way our property improvement works are carried out, concentrating on external property works. If we have started works in your home, we will complete these but if works have not commenced then they may be deferred to a later date.
We will keep you fully informed of all changes as they happen and will work with you to ensure the best possible service is available in these difficult times.
What other precautions are we taking?
While we have always taken pride in our hygiene standards, the cleanliness of our offices and the conduct of our colleagues visiting people’s homes, we are undertaking these additional measures to further reduce the potential risk of contamination:
- Increasing the frequency of disinfectant cleaning in all offices
- Instructing our colleagues to wash their hands more frequently, adding more hand sanitisers in our workplace and providing bottles of sanitiser and gloves to employees visiting customers’ homes
- Keeping our colleagues up to date on the information they need to help prevent exposure and requiring them to stay home if they are showing any symptoms of illness.
We have established a dedicated task force to ensure our business can continue to take immediate action in response to this evolving issue to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. We are also:
- Planning how we will maintain our essential services to customers if the virus escalates and more cases arise
- Looking at how we support customers as much as we can with information and advice, continuing to keep our website updated
- Developing specific plans for customers who live in our sheltered and extra care accommodation and those with greater support needs.
To help maintain your health and that of your loved ones, we advise you to take these steps in line with government advice:
- Please do not come into our offices if you have a new cough or a fever (temperature above 37.8°C). Please follow government advice and self-isolate for 14 days
- Keep your hands clean, wash regularly and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch all coughs and sneezes and then bin the tissue – then wash your hands with soap and water
- If you think you may have encountered the virus, please follow the government advice and self-isolate in the first instance and call the NHS 111 helpline for further advice.
We will continue to monitor the situation and government updates closely. Please be assured we are committed to doing everything we can to protect your health and wellbeing.