Coronavirus – some answers about our services

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Posts.

The Government recently published a letter to all social housing residents, setting out its aim for a phased return to housing services across the country: Government’s letter to social housing residents.

As we move forward and restart delivery of more services in Gateshead, it is important that our first priority remains the safety of our customers and employees.

As the situation is constantly changing, please do keep checking our website and gateshead.gov.uk/coronavirus for updates. 

You can find multi-language information on the help available from Gateshead Council on their website. There are videos in Punjabi, Urdu, Arabic, Kurdish, Hindi, French, Bengali, and Farsi.

Getting in touch

Our offices are currently closed to the public. However, you can still contact us by phone or email between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

General enquiries
Email enquiries@gatesheadhousing.co.uk or call 0191 433 5353.

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Current service information

HomeRepairs

We continue to focus on carrying out essential works in customers’ homes. At present we are unable to offer you an appointment or give you a timescale for completion on non-emergency repairs. However, as soon as that position changes, we will update you.

We are currently evaluating the outstanding work previously raised with our customers. As soon as it is safe to do so we will be batching these works and delivering them in programmes.

We have restarted work in some of our empty properties to ensure we have a supply of homes to meet urgent housing need.

Our emergency service is operating 24 hours a day, every day.

If we are due to come to your home and someone in your household is self-isolating or has coronavirus symptoms, please tell us.

We’ll ask you a series of questions before we visit your home, and again and at the time we visit. Please don’t be offended – our only intention is to make sure that risks associated with the virus are minimised for us all. And please also feel free to ask our staff if you have any questions about our safe working practices.

To help keep everyone safe, we ask that you maintain a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from our employees. If possible, you should stay in a different room while our repairs team is working in your home.

Roofing and scaffolding

We are now working on roofing repairs, with an emphasis on completing works so we can take down existing scaffolding. Watch our video for more details.

Construction and investment work

From May, we have restarted some of our building and maintenance work to external and shared areas of some buildings.

While we are keen to get back to full-service levels, the safety of our customers and employees comes first. For this reason, we are only carrying out jobs that can be done safely. All our work that is now going ahead has been risk-assessed. We will write individually to every customer whose home we need to visit, outlining the steps we are taking to keep residents and employees safe.

Gas safety checks

We continue to carry out our programme of essential gas safety checks. We are following the same process of safe working as we are with all home visits – please let us know before your appointment if anyone in your household is self-isolating or has coronavirus symptoms. When we do visit, maintain social distancing from our employees, staying in another room if possible.

Building safety

We have restarted our programme to replace door sets in our high-rise blocks, as part of essential fire safety work. We will write individually to every customer whose home we need to visit, outlining the steps we are taking to keep residents and employees safe.

Moving home

We continue to focus on providing homes for those with urgent housing need, such as people leaving hospital and those who may be facing homelessness.

Although we are not currently offering choice-based lettings, you can still register.

We intend to reopen the mutual exchange programme once we have put safe working practices in place.

If you have nowhere to stay, email housingadvice@gatesheadhousing.co.uk or call 0191 433 3174.

Financial advice

If your income is reduced, please call us on 0191 433 6150 and we will look at how we can help you. We can help you apply for benefits, grants and help towards paying your rent. We can also help you with any debts. Please be reassured that our aim is to help you manage your tenancy and remain in your home. Support and advice on Universal Credit and benefits is still available over the phone.

If you have a pre-paid energy meter and can’t leave home to top it up, call your energy supplier, who will discuss the options available to help you stay connected.

Paying rent

There are several ways to pay your rent from home:

  • call our automated 24-hour service on 0800 052 3455 to pay with a debit or credit card
  • set up a login on ‘MyTGHCaccount’ and make payments via our website
  • the easiest and safest way to pay is by Direct Debit. You can download a Direct Debit form here.Fill it in and either email it back to us or post to Rent and Income Team, The Gateshead Housing Company, Civic Centre, Gateshead, NE8 1JN

Antisocial behaviour

We are prioritising reports of antisocial behaviour and will respond to the high priority incidents.

Face–to–face interviews will only take place in exceptional, serious circumstances, with safe working practices in place.

With many of us still at home for most of the day, please be considerate of neighbours by thinking about how noise from your home could be causing problems to others. Please also be more tolerant and patient with noise and activity that you’re not used to hearing.

If you are experiencing excessive noise, which you can’t resolve between yourselves, please call us on one of the housing office phone numbers below.

There’s more information on neighbour noise at Gateshead Council’s website.

Domestic abuse

Government advice is to stay at home and stay safe, but we recognise that home may not be a safe place for some, particularly if you are experiencing domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse comes in many forms, including;

  • Physical assaults
  • Sexual assaults
  • Emotional abuse
  • Isolation
  • Economic abuse
  • Threats
  • Stalking
  • Intimidation

If you are experiencing any of these issues, we are still here to help.

You can contact our Housing Domestic Abuse Outreach Team on 0191 433 3174 for advice. Or you can visit our website for further information about how we can help.

You can also call Gateshead Council’s 24-hour Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0191 433 3333 or visit their website.

In an emergency call 999 – if you are unable to speak, you can confirm you need help by pressing 55 when prompted.

Multi-storey blocks

The caretaking service continues to deliver essential services in each block. Caretakers are focusing on keeping the communal areas regularly sanitised and free from debris/rubbish. You can help by disposing of your rubbish using the chutes and recycling bins in each block. Regular health and safety checks are also a priority and are still being carried out.

The concierge service in Warwick Court, Regent Court, Redheugh Court and Eslington Court is operating during its usual hours. To maintain social distancing, there is only one employee working at a time.

Sheltered accommodation and supported housing schemes

Until further notice, communal lounges are closed, and no social activities will take place.

To protect some of our most vulnerable residents, we are asking friends and family not to visit our schemes unless it is absolutely necessary. We know this is a difficult ask, but self-isolation is the best way to keep people safe.

Employees are on hand in schemes to support with customers’ day-to-day needs, and residents can still contact us for help and support. All our sheltered scheme residents continue to receive daily check-in phone calls from our team. 

Leaseholders

Financial help
Email Leasehold Services at leasehold@gatesheadhousing.co.uk if you are struggling financially due to Coronavirus. We will work with you to discuss payment terms and the potential to temporarily postpone payment of service charges and major works bills.

Paying service charges
There are several ways to do this from home: 

Any restriction of services will be taken into account when we issue the actual service charge invoices in June 2021. We do not envisage this will apply, to any significant degree, for the June 2020 actual bills.

Garden Tidy Service

This will restart from 1 June. All customers should receive a visit within the first four weeks of the service restarting. The weekly charge will be added back onto customers’ rent accounts from 1 June. We are writing to all Garden Tidy Service customers to let them know. Contact us at enquiries@gatesheadhousing.co.uk or on 0191 433 5353 if you have any questions.

Decoration vouchers

Johnstone’s Decorating Centre is currently closed to the public, and you will be unable to use your vouchers until they reopen. Email investmentteam@gatesheadhousing.co.uk or call 0191 433 5490 if you have any questions.