Coronavirus Covid-19 Questions & Answers – updated 15 June 2020
Below are the most frequently asked questions from residents to Sutton Housing Society staff regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
Complying with the Government guidance
We continue to ask that all residents, family members and friends, abide by the Government guidance in this new phase of managing the Coronavirus pandemic – and help us all to “Stay alert, control the virus, save Lives”. Ensuring that we all follow the social distancing guidance is essential.
To clarify the guidance:
- If you have any symptoms or have been in contact with anyone with symptoms of the Coronavirus, you must self-isolate for 14 days.
- If you have been confirmed with Coronavirus, you must self-isolate for at least 7 days.
For residents that are clinically extremely vulnerable:
People who are clinically and extremely vulnerable are still strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible. It is also recommended that you keep visits outside to a minimum, for instance once per day. You should have received a letter from the government advising you that you are in this category.
Shielding for other reasons:
- If you are choosing to shield due to age, disability or illness for instance, you should continue to take precautions but can now leave your home, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household.
- If you live alone, you can now form a “social bubble”. The social bubble must be with another single adult household and must not change. You can interact as if you are one household and do not need to follow social distancing guidance.
- It is very important to ensure that everyone in your support bubble should take extra care when meeting up with people outside of the bubble. This includes maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres and following proper hygiene measures, including washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap.
All other residents:
For other residents, you are now able to meet with up to six other people. Again, this must be outside and does now include private gardens. Please ensure that you continue to maintain social distancing of 2 metres from one another.
Can we still use the communal areas in our schemes like the laundry and the lounge?
Many residents living in our older peoples housing schemes with communal facilities will have seen the posters that have been placed in the laundries and more recently the messages placed on the digital noticeboards.
Residents can still use the communal laundry if they are not self-isolating, but we ask that this is one person at a time. We also request that you do not wait for your laundry as this will stop others from being able to use the machines, as we need to ensure social distancing (minimum of 2 metres apart) is maintained at all times.
We have also asked that residents wash their hands before and after using the machines; please also wipe down any surfaces you have used with diluted bleach or an anti-bacterial spray.
Although the communal lounges and kitchens are not locked, residents should not use these areas until further notice.
What community engagement events are taking place?
Whilst we have cancelled all community engagement events that would compromise social distancing, we introduced some outdoor entertainment at some schemes during June. We are anticipating continuing to roll out engagement activities during July across many schemes, which will hopefully include tai chi and chair-based exercises. These are publicised at the individual schemes and are for residents at those individuals schemes only.
Sophie, our Community Engagement Officer, is running regular virtual coffee mornings and afternoon quizzes. If you would like to find out more, please contact Sophie by telephoning 07791 754 624 or via email at email@example.com
Can we use the communal gardens?
Yes, if you are not self-isolating BUT if more than one person is in the communal garden, please be mindful of maintaining the recommended social distancing of at least 2 metres.
Can I book the guest room?
No. The guest rooms are closed until further notice.
What is the “extremely vulnerable residents” scheme?
This Government scheme was introduced to assist residents with medical conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.
People that are registered and accepted on the scheme can ask for help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food. The Government is recommending that if residents are not sure if their medical condition makes them extremely vulnerable or not, to register anyway.
You need to register online at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable you will need to have your NHS number available; this can be found on any letter addressed to you from the NHS or on any of your prescriptions.
If you cannot register online, or need help with this, just call the Sutton Housing Society office on 020 8642 1500, leave a message and a member of the team will call you back as soon as possible to help you register. You will still need to have your NHS number available.
How is Sutton Housing Society helping residents?
Staff are assisting residents during the pandemic in a number of ways:
- Shopping for essential items for isolated or vulnerable residents: these arrangements have now come to an end. Staff have ensured that all residents that required assistance received it and have made all necessary alternative arrangements.
- Keeping in touch: our staff have been, and will continue to be, in touch with residents, particularly those that are more socially isolated, living in our older peoples housing. These are our “welfare calls” and we will continue to be in touch, to see how people are, how they are managing and if they need additional assistance. Overall, people are managing well and are pleased to hear from us!
- Letters of Joy: we are working with Age UK Sutton on a “letters of joy” project. School children are writing to older people, hoping to bring a smile and some joy to individuals receiving the letters. Sutton Housing Society staff are arranging for these letters to be delivered.
- Engaging with IT: Sophie, our Community Engagement Officer and Stacey our IT Coordinator, are looking at ways to enable residents to socialise using technology. This is likely to be via Apps and residents will need to have a little bit of IT savvy to take part.
Sophie has a regular programme of “virtual engagement” events and would be happy to discuss this with you. Please call her direct on 07791 754 624.
Tablets are also available via our tablet loan scheme for all of our residents in our Housing for Older People Schemes who may feel isolated during the virus as they do not have their own device to use to socialise.
If you are interested in a tablet, please give Stacey a call on 020 8661 5899 as we currently still have some available.
If I am self-isolating, do I need to let you know?
Yes. We need to know if you are self-isolating in order to continue to provide a service to you in a way that is suitable and safe for our staff and contractors.
What happens if someone is not observing social distancing?
We would ask any residents concerned about individuals not social distancing appropriately at your scheme, to let your Community Housing Officer (Lise or Lauren) know in the first instance and / or report this to the police if this has happened before.
If you contact Sutton Housing Society and it’s the first report, we will speak to the resident concerned and reiterate the guidance and request that they follow this. Should the situation not change, we ask that you report this to the police and also let Lise or Lauren know too. They will seek to find out if any action is being taken by the police.
How can I pay my rent?
Residents can continue to pay their rent using the following methods:
- Direct Debit through your bank or building society. To request a form please call the Housing Assistant on 020 8915 2951
- Cash, cheque or debit card at any Post Office using your Allpay payment card
- Cash at shops where you see the PayPoint outlet signs, using your Allpay payment card
- Debit card via the internet at allpayments.net using your Allpay payment card
- Phone via the Allpay automated system, using your debit card and Allpay payment card on 0844 557 8321
- Text payments via Allpay, you will need to register online at allpayments.net/textpay to use this service
- Allpay App (free to download on your Apple or Android smartphone and tablets) using your debit card and Allpay payment card
For residents that usually pay with cash, this may be more problematic during the pandemic as more shops are refusing cash.
If you usually pay your rent in cash, please speak to Lise (020 8915 2954), Lauren (020 8915 2955) or Wayne (020 8915 2951) about alternative arrangements and / or payment options.
How can I get help with gas and electricity when self-isolating?
If you have a pre-pay gas and / or electricity meter and you are self-isolating, please follow the link here to see what help is available. https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-and-your-energy-supply for the latest information.
What about payment holidays for my water bills?
SES Water is offering assistance to residents struggling to pay their water bills. Please contact them at https://seswater.co.uk/your-account/paying-your-bill/help-paying-your-bill/payment-holiday
Can I still report repairs?
Yes: please call the office on 020 8642 1500, leave a message and a member of the team will call you back. We are checking the answerphone for messages every 30 minutes between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
You can also call Tracey (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm) to report a repair on 020 8661 5891. Alternative you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any non-emergency repairs.
Outside of our regular office hours, please report any emergency repairs by calling 0300 369 0586 or by using your alarm device if you have one.
We have been focussing on ensuring that all emergency and urgent repairs are carried out by our contractors and are now starting to complete some of the more routine repairs, focussing on the external repairs. We are recording routine repairs and our contractors are carrying out all the repairs that they can, although there may be some delay in completing any non-urgent internal repairs.
We are continuing to ensure that the regular cleaning and grounds maintenance services continue. Acorn, our cleaning contractor is ensuring that areas are thoroughly cleaned and that the communal toilets have enough liquid soap and paper towels each time they visit.
For benefit enquiries as a result of coronavirus or for rent payment problems relating to coronavirus, please click here. This information is from Shelter, an independent charitable organisation that offers independent advice and support. If you are experiencing difficulties paying your rent, please also speak with your Community Housing Officer Lise Mellors or Lauren Durand.
– For information on Scams during the coronavirus, click here.
– Click here to take a look at Age UK’s coronavirus guide.
– Click here for Age UK Sutton’s Covid-19 Wellbeing Programme.
Coronavirus Covid-19 update – 16 March 2020
Impact of Coronavirus Covid-19 on Sutton Housing Society
We wanted to update you on the steps Sutton Housing Society is taking to help minimise the spread of COVID-19.
To help combat the spread of COVID-19, we have put precautionary safety measures in place, including:
- With effect from 17 March 2020, the Sutton Housing Society offices are closed to visitors. Staff are available by calling their direct dial (“About Us” tab then drop down “Staff and Board” or by calling 020 8642 1500.
- Our key focus on service delivery relates to emergency repairs and ensuring these are attended to. This may mean, for a short period of time, that it takes a little longer than usual to complete all repairs reported to us.
- In the older people schemes, all our community engagement events have been cancelled until the end of March – this includes jazzy exercise, bingo, wi-fi cafes etc. More news on the April events will follow as soon as possible.
- Sutton Housing Society staff are following government advice and are advising residents to do the same. The advice is to:
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- stay at home for 7 days if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus Covid-19 or if you have come in to contact with anyone who has symptoms
- The government also advises people NOT to
- touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- If you live in a block of flats with communal facilities, the building is already on a cleaning schedule. However, if you are using any communal facilities, including the bin stores and laundry, please also use hand wipes/sanitisers to try to minimise the risk of contracting the virus
- Please let us know if you, or anyone you have come in to contact with, has symptoms and / or is diagnosed with Coronavirus Covid-19. You can report this to us by telephoning 020 8642 1500 or by emailing us at email@example.com
- We have placed a notice on the main entrance doors to all blocks of flats advising visitors not to enter the building if they have symptoms of, or have been in contact with, someone who has the coronavirus Covid-19.
Sutton Housing Society staff are reviewing the situation on a regular basis and will keep you advised of the situation about our staff and services.
We appreciate your co-operation and understanding.
From the team at Sutton Housing Society
For information about the Corona virus Covid-19, please click here. Alternatively, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
Sutton Housing Society aims to provide good quality affordable rented housing for people in housing need and who live in or are connected with the London Borough of Sutton. All of our homes are currently within the Sutton area.
The Society owns 485 properties of which 369 are for older people. We hold our own housing waiting list for people ages 55+ who wish to live in a scheme designated for older people and encourage people to apply directly to us for this type of housing. All of our homes for younger people or for families are allocated via the London Borough of Sutton.
All our residents have a named Community Housing Services Officer; at many of our schemes we provide a more intensive housing service to enable individuals to live safely in their homes for longer. We have a range of community activities and events going on each month which our older residents are encouraged to take part in.
Our Commitment to Quality
This includes redesigning some flats to make them self contained and improving communal facilities. All of our properties benefit from an ongoing programme of planned reinvestment and improvements. As well as improvements to the physical environment the Society continuously reviews its policies, procedures and quality of service. We aim to work together with our tenants in these reviews to ensure that we demonstrate our commitment to shaping our future together.
Sutton Housing Society Ltd
Pat Shaw House
13-19 Ventnor Road
Surrey SM2 6AQ
The nearest railway station is Sutton (Southern Rail)
Bus services include the 80, 280 and Metrobus 420