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Covid-19 (Coronavirus) FAQs for Tenants – Independent Living

How can I contact Clanmil while the offices are closed to the public?

Can I still get my repairs done?

What is an emergency essential repair?

Will I get emergency repairs done if I am self-isolating?

I have a service booked (gas, electrical, fire safety) but I don’t want your Maintenance Technician in my home in case they have Coronavirus. What should I do?

I am in the process of having update work carried out in my home such as a new kitchen/bathroom or rewire. Will work stop?

Are you still going to maintain the grounds around our scheme?

Will I get a rent payment holiday?

My income isn’t affected. Can I still pay my rent in the normal way?

What help is available financially for people who have been laid off, have no money coming in or are on a reduced income?

I’ve received a letter telling me that Shielding is being ‘paused’. What does this mean for me and my job?

I received Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) while I was shielding. Can this continue once shielding has ended?

I need to terminate my tenancy. Can I still do this?

Is Clanmil still organising events and activities?

What support are you offering to older people?

Will my Scheme Co-ordinator still be working?

How should I contact my Scheme Co-ordinator?

Can I have visitors to my home?

What precautions are being put in place for Independent Living schemes?

Is there extra cleaning taking place at my scheme?


How can I contact Clanmil while the offices are closed to the public?

Although our offices are currently closed to visitors, our team is working as normal and you can reach them during office hours (9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday) by:

  • email to an individual team member’s email address or to housing@clanmil.org.uk
  • telephone for urgent enquiries (not repairs) on 028 9087 6000
  • telephone for emergency and essential repairs only on 028 9087 6019 or email repairs@clanmil.org.uk
  • telephone for rent arrears on 028 9087 7034 or email Incomerecovery@clanmil.org.uk
  • Facebook Messenger @clanmilhousing, Twitter @ClanmilHousing or our website clanmil.org
Outside office hours, our out-of-hours emergency repairs service will continue to operate on tel: 028 9042 1010. This service is for emergency essential repairs.

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Can I still get my repairs done?

During lockdown, to protect us all, internal repairs were limited to emergency essential work only. Now that restrictions are easing, we are carrying out some non-essential repairs where it is safe to do so.

Please contact our repairs desk on 028 9087 6019 or at repairs@clanmil.org.uk We will assess if the work required can be carried out safely at this time. If not, we will take the detail of the repair and log it in our system to be completed when it is safe to do so.

If you’ve been told to self-isolate, or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, you must let us know when you report your repair.

We will ask you to answer some questions about your household’s health and recent travel to assess the risk of carrying out the repair before a decision is made.

If your repair is inside the property, and we can proceed with it, we will ask you to isolate yourself from the area of repair for as long as possible before the repair takes place, and while our contractor is carrying out the work. We may ask you to undertake other measures, but these will be discussed with you before we arrive.

Essential external repairs and repairs to vacant properties are continuing.

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What is an emergency essential repair?

Emergency essential repairs are those that if not completed, could put you, a third party (e.g. neighbour or pedestrians on the street), or the building at risk or, that will cause a health and safety risk. These include:

  • Loss of heating
  • Significant water leaks
  • Loss of power
  • Immediate health and safety risks where there is significant risk of injury
  • Lift not working
  • Fire alarm repairs
  • Gas boiler servicing
  • Critical fire protection work.
This is not a complete list and we will assess each repair individually to determine whether it is an emergency or not.

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Will I get emergency repairs done if I am self-isolating?

If you’ve been told to self-isolate, or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, you must let us know when you report your repair.

We will ask you to answer some questions about your household’s health and recent travel to assess the risk of carrying out the repair before a decision is made.

If your repair is inside the property, and we can proceed with it, we will ask you to isolate yourself from the area of repair for as long as possible before the repair takes place. We may ask you to undertake other measures, but these will be discussed with you before we arrive.

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I have a service booked (gas, electrical, fire safety) but I don’t want your Maintenance Technician in my home in case they have Coronavirus. What should I do?

We recognise that you may be nervous about contractors coming into your home, but it is important that we keep you safe through boiler servicing etc.

We still need access to your home to complete this service, but we are putting extra safeguards in place to protect you and our contractors.

For ‘emergency’ or ‘regulatory compliance’ work, we will contact you ahead of the visit and complete an assessment over the phone of work to be undertaken, to minimise the length of the visit. Our Maintenance Technicians will have all the necessary Personal Protective Equipment needed and will continue to regularly wash their hands and use hand sanitiser. They will clean all surfaces they touch, before leaving your property.   

When they are on site, you must remain in another room with the door closed and not enter the work area while the Maintenance Technician is in the property.  If you are concerned about any aspect of this, please contact us and we can discuss individual measures we can put in place to reassure you.

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I am in the process of having update work carried out in my home such as a new kitchen/bathroom or rewire. Will work stop?

Yes. Unfortunately, all non-emergency work must stop until further notice. We will do everything we can to ensure that you have a functional kitchen/bathroom in the meantime.

Once we return to business as usual, we will contact you to arrange the completion of the works to your home.

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Are you still going to maintain the grounds around our scheme?

Our grounds maintenance service has now resumed with a new contractor, Greentown Environmental Ltd.

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Will I get a rent payment holiday?

Rent is vitally important to not-for-profit organisations like Clanmil.  It allows us to carry out essential repairs and maintenance work and deliver support services to the people who live in the homes we provide. You need to continue to pay your rent in full.

Where your circumstances change due to the Coronavirus, you must let us know as soon as you can. We will look compassionately at each case to find a solution.

If you are worried about paying your rent, please get in touch with us now. Our Money Advice Team is providing advice and support for people who are struggling with their finances, including help claiming benefits, and they can help.

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My income isn’t affected. Can I still pay my rent in the normal way?

Yes. All normal rent payment options remain available, including the option to pay over the phone. We would of course encourage you to pay online or to set up automated payment (e.g. direct debit) to reduce demand on phone lines and save yourself time. Check our website for details of ways you can pay your rent: http://www.clanmil.org/pay-your-rent or email Incomerecovery@clanmil.org.uk.

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What help is available financially for people who have been laid off, have no money coming in or are on a reduced income?

If your income is affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) you may be able to claim Sick Pay or benefits to support you through this period. Your income may be affected due to working less, no longer working, self-isolating, or caring for someone who is sick.

The Government Furlough Scheme ends on the 31st October. It will be replaced by the The Job Support Scheme, which is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19. The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until April 2021.

Examples

Beth normally works 5 days a week and earns £350 a week. Her company is suffering reduced sales due to coronavirus. Rather than making Beth redundant, the company puts Beth on the Job Support Scheme, working 2 days a week (40% of her usual hours).

Her employer pays Beth £140 for the days she works. And for the time she is not working (3 days or 60%, worth £210), she will also earn 2/3, or £140, bringing her total earnings to £280, 80% of her normal wage.

The Government will give a grant worth £70 (1/3 of hours not worked, equivalent to 20% of her normal wages) to Beth’s employer to support them in keeping Beth’s job.

If you need money or benefits advice then contact Clanmil’s dedicated Money Advice Team. Our Money Advisors can help you make the right decisions. You can contact the Money Advice Team on 028 9087 7047 or email moneyadvice@clanmil.org.uk. Find out more here: http://www.clanmil.org/money-advice.

You can get the most up-to-date information on the Department for Communities website here: https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/landing-pages/covid-19-and-benefits

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I’ve received a letter telling me that Shielding is being ‘paused’. What does this mean for me and my job?

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) recently issued letters to everyone who is shielding in Northern Ireland. These advised that if the infection rate remains low, people who are currently shielding will not need to do so after 31 July 2020. The letters also announced other changes to the guidance, giving more options for support and socialising.  

The CMO has issued this guidance on the basis that the risk of catching COVID-19 is now relatively low. However, the advice will remain under review, i.e. if the infection rate starts to rise again, the CMO will review this position.

For tenants who are Shielding or coming to the end of Shielding, you will want to follow your GP and Government advice about safe contact with friends and family. You will also want to follow our advice above in relation to advising us of your position if there are any repairs needed to your property and we will continue to take all appropriate steps to ensure your safety.

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I received Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) while I was shielding. Can this continue once shielding has ended?

You might still be able to receive SSP, but you will not be automatically eligible due to shielding after 31 July 2020. Effectively, after this point, the rules around SSP will revert to the way they were prior to the pandemic and shielding will no longer be included. 

To be eligible for SSP, you will need to:

  • Have a contract of employment with your employer (if you were previously claiming SSP, you will fulfil this criteria) and have done some work for your employer
  • Earn an average of at least £120 per week
  • Have been ill for at least 4 days in a row
If you are off sick for more than 7 days in a row (including non-working days) you will need to give your employer a ‘fit note’. You can get a fit note from your GP or hospital doctor. If your employer agrees, a similar document can be provided by a physiotherapist, podiatrist or occupational therapist instead. This is called an Allied Health Professional (AHP) Health and Work Report.

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I need to terminate my tenancy. Can I still do this?

Yes. However, we will manage this process differently. You should still get in touch with us to give us at least 4 weeks notice, as normal.

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Is Clanmil still organising events and activities?

Events and activities will be limited at this time to those that can take place safely, either by following the Government’s social distancing advice or virtually. We will communicate further on this at a later stage.

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What support are you offering to older people?

We have carried out an exercise with people living at our Independent Living Schemes to identify areas of support for those who need it. We have been helping these people access the support they need.

If you need help and support, please let us know. We’ll try to help.

You also have access to the Out-of-Hours service through your call system or pull cord.

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Will my Scheme Co-ordinator still be working?

From 10 August our scheme staff will be at your scheme for a minimum of three mornings each week, between 9.00am and 12.00 noon. They will continue to work remotely during the rest of the week. The days when staff are present will be displayed on the office door at your scheme and we will kept this under continuous review at each scheme.

We have stopped rotating Scheme Co-ordinators around different schemes for now to limit the number of people accessing each scheme. We will keep this under review and advise you if we need to make any further changes. Your Neighbourhood Services Officer is also available by calling 028 9087 6000 and as always, the Radius Connect 24-hour helpline is available by using the pullcord in your home.

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How should I contact my Scheme Co-ordinator?

We are continuing to minimise face-to-face contact. Even when your scheme co-ordinator is on site, please only contact them by telephone or by using the intercom system. This is to protect both your health and that of our team.

It is important that you also understand we will be observing social distancing of 2 metres or 6 feet at all times to protect our staff and you, so visits to individual flats by our staff will only be in an emergency.

Due to the size and for your safety, only the Scheme Co-ordinator can be in their office at any time.

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Can I have visitors to my home?

Where a visit is essential, it should be limited to two visitors only at any time. Every visitor will be required to follow all guidance to help safeguard people, such as using hand sanitiser when they arrive and washing their hands regularly while on site. Should your visitor need to visit the scheme with children, please contact the Scheme Coordinator in advance of the visit.

Visits may only take place in your private apartment/bungalow and not in shared areas.

Visitors and tenants must not enter the Scheme Coordinator’s office at any time.

Each scheme will have a ‘Sign in/out’ book at the main entrance. All visitors must record their visit in this book for COVID-19 tracing purposes.

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What precautions are being put in place for Independent Living schemes?

We have introduced a number of measures at your scheme to help protect your heath and that of our team. These include:

Common Room
Following recent changes in Government guidance, we regret that common rooms at all schemes are currently closed. We are keeping this situation under continuous review.

Common Toilets
These will be closed for the foreseeable future. As well as helping to slow the spread of the virus, this will allow your Domestic Assistant to focus more of their time on keeping key touch points clean, such as door handles, lifts in communal areas etc.

Guest Rooms
Guest rooms are also closed until further notice. We will make contact with anyone who has a booking to explain the situation. Where there are exceptional circumstances, these should be discussed directly with your Neighbourhood Services Officer.

Laundry Room
The laundry facility remains open and available and we are continuing to restrict access to one person at a time through our rota system. We will keep this under review as the situation develops.

Please continue to follow these guidelines when using the laundry room:

  • Please use the room one at a time in line with the new rota
  • Please wait outside the room for the other person to finish
  • Please respect the time restrictions and keep within your slot to ensure everyone gets fair access
  • Please clean the machine after use with the cleaning products provided
  • Soiled clothing should not be washed. They should be doubled bagged and disposed of in the bin.

Hairdressing Room
Hairdressing rooms remain closed for now. We are keeping this under review and will update you further when this can change.

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Is there extra cleaning taking place at my scheme?

We are keeping the cleaning of all schemes under review and exploring all opportunities to increase our cleaning regime.

While the Domestic Teams are on duty, they will be paying particular attention to key touch points in communal areas such as door handles and lifts. Please remember that our Domestic Team can’t be there all of the time, so it is important that you keep washing your hands and take your own precautionary measures also.

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