As restrictions have slowly eased and we all move to our “new normal” I wanted to update you on our current service delivery and what this means for you.
I previously told you about our phased plan to bring our services safely back online. Whilst we are continuing to work under difficult circumstances, we want to extend the services we offer you quickly and safely.
We are now able to restart further services we know are important to you. I am pleased to be able to advise you that from 1 September we are now offering our full responsive repairs service in and around your home. We will be able to visit you in your home again and can now progress new mutual exchange applications. We will also be reviewing the use of communal spaces such as community rooms and halls on an individual basis, opening these facilities where it is safe to do so. Over the coming weeks you may also begin to see some of our planned maintenance programmes back on site as we restart these works.
We are making excellent progress with the backlog of repairs that built up over the four months of lockdown and I am pleased to be able to tell you that we are on target to complete all outstanding work within the next eight weeks. I know that this is still frustrating for those of you who are waiting for work to be done, but I would ask that you continue to bear with us. Our teams are working hard to get this work completed for you and we are currently carrying out around 2,000 repairs every week.
From 1 September some staff, including our customer services and repairs planning teams, have also begun returning to our offices in Tolvaddon, Exeter and Weston. However, our offices will not be open to the public or other visitors for the time being.
In order to be able to bring some important services back now, we have had to split phase three into two parts. Our kitchen and bathroom replacement programme will now return in phase four. This is because the teams who install kitchens and bathrooms are currently working on completing the backlog of responsive repairs. In phase four we will also re-introduce more of our planned maintenance work and look to open up the remaining community facilities.
As we reintroduce services, reflecting the government guidance, we continue to review the Covid-19 statistics for the South West and Public Health England (PHE) ‘watchlist’ areas. This is to ensure that where local lockdown measures are introduced in areas where we own homes, we can tailor our services to reflect this. In the event that localised measures are introduced in your area; we will let you know what services you can expect to receive on our website.
Finally, I know that this is still a difficult time for many of our customers who have lost jobs and income as a result of the economic impact of Covid-19. If you are worried about your finances and are struggling with work or benefits, we have lots of information to help you on our website. We are updating this regularly as new information becomes available. If you are in a situation where you are worried about paying your rent, please get in touch with us immediately. We want you to feel secure in your home and will work with you to find a solution.