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<Sent to customers with a registered email address on 2 October>

When I last wrote to you in July, the country was beginning to return to some degree of normality following the period of national lockdown and indeed we had set about clearing the backlog of non-urgent repairs and planned maintenance as more of our services came back online. I’m sure you will have watched the prime minister’s televised address to the nation last week in which he made it clear that we all needed to take further precautions in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus.

With this in mind, I wanted to explain how we’re continuing to deliver our services and the steps we are taking to ensure we do this safely. And I want to reassure you that the government’s announcements don’t mean significant changes to the way we’re currently operating thanks to the stringent covid secure measures we already have in place which are working well and are focused on keeping both customers and colleagues safe.

We’re still carrying out repairs in customers’ homes

We continue operating our standard repairs service and are pleased to report that we have successfully completed all those that built up during the lockdown period. The revised restrictions don’t affect our ability to carry our repairs inside your home thanks to the strict safety measures we have in place with all engineers and contract partners having access to full PPE including face coverings. The only exception to that is if you or your household are self-isolating – if this is the case, please let us know. We know repairs are important to you so please continue to report any issues with your home that you need us to look at.

Thanks for allowing us to continue our annual safety checks in homes

It’s really important we’re able to carry out your annual safety checks in a timely manner so I’d like to thank you for allowing us to continue to visit your home to carry these out over the past few months. In fact, we’ve seen a 15% increase in customers allowing us access at the first time of asking so it is great to know that you trust us to carry out home visits in a safe and secure environment.

Working in local lockdown areas

You will have seen that in several areas local restrictions are in place on top of the national restrictions. Currently customers living in around 6,000 homes are affected by this across Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, and Solihull. We have a dedicated team of colleagues constantly reviewing both these restrictions and the measures we have put in place to ensure we can safely continue to carry out repairs, safety inspections, and other home visits when required. We’ll keep you updated on any changes and if you live in one of those four areas, please try to avoid mixing with other households or support bubbles.

To prepare yourself for a colleague visiting your home, please watch this short video from Vijay, one of our engineers:

Neighbourhood coaches

Whilst our offices remain closed to customers, our neighbourhood coaches continue to work at home or in their communities and are still on hand to offer you any support, guidance, or even a friendly chat if needed. They have been staying in touch with customers via phone, email, or video messaging as well as occasionally meeting face-to-face when appropriate. We know the past few months have been financially tough for many people and that the new restrictions might cause further financial hardship so please speak to your neighbourhood coach as soon as possible if you think you are going to have trouble paying your rent or just need some guidance and support.

As always, you can find the latest information on the Coronavirus FAQs on our website which is updated regularly. And please remember to keep regularly washing your hands, wearing a face covering when appropriate, and maintaining a safe space from other people so we can once again reverse the spread of this virus and keep our communities safe.

Thanks, and stay safe

Paul Coates

 

With a 20 year career in housing, Paul is passionate about supporting customers to create thriving and sustainable communities.

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