The latest information about coronavirus and our services: Regular Update

13 May 2020

In addition to section 7 of this article, further domestic abuse advice and guidance has been published by the Home Office. This can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse and needs help. Remember: "The household isolation instruction as a result of coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse."

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Due to the current government guidelines (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus), many of our services are restricted or have been changed. We are also aiming wherever possible to provide relevant help, support and signposting to our customers in relation to coronavirus and its impact. We have divided this information into numbered sections below:

1. OUR LETTINGS SERVICES: non-urgent lettings now resumed with social distancing measures in place

Following the Governments announcement to kick start the housing market on 12th May 2020, Platform Housing Group are now in a position to resume all non-urgent lettings.

If you have been allocated a property we will soon be in touch with you to arrange for you to sign for your new tenancy, however please bear with us as we are working through a backlog at this current time.

Our intention will be to carry out your sign-up virtually to ensure not only your safety but also that of our staff. This means you will be asked to sign your tenancy agreement online via Adobe Signature and you will receive a telephone call from either a Lettings or Neighbourhoods Officer who will talk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

You will then be issued a key safe code number to access the keys to your new property.

For any applicants who require further support and guidance, please speak to your Lettings Officer who will be able to assist you further and make the necessary arrangements.

2. OUR REPAIRS SERVICE

Our repairs service is currently reduced in order to minimise the spread of Covid-19, and until further notice only covers:

EMERGENCY REPAIRS:

  • Complete loss of electric or exposed bare wires
  • Complete loss of water supply or uncontainable major leaks
  • Complete loss of heating
  • Complete loss of hot water for vulnerable customers
  • Making insecure properties safe
  • Lift breakdowns
  • Emergency gas repairs

To report any emergency repairs call: 0333 200 7304

If your home is under warranty, your developer will only carry out emergency repairs, non-urent repairs will be picked up at a later date. All 12 month end of defect visits are postponed until further notice.

Non-emergency repairs already booked may have been cancelled and will be rearranged at a later date. Over the coming weeks we will be working to resume our home repairs service. To ensure the safety of our customers and staff we have done a COVID-19 Generic Risk Assessments for our repairs work.

There are some services which we are now in a position to recommence, whilst still following Government Guidance on social distancing and ensuring the safety of both our customers and our operatives, as follows:-

GROUNDS MAINTENANCE SERVICES:

  • Property Care will commence full grounds maintenance services out of its Worcestershire based hubs, providing full contract coverage (Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and South Birmingham)
  • Our subcontractor Ide Verde will re-commence grounds maintenance services in the Lincolnshire area on Monday 20th April
  • Derbyshire Dales Grounds maintenance is under review and we hope to have this back on line in the next few weeks

NON-EMERGENCY REPAIRS:

In addition to emergency repairs we will deliver some additional non-emergency works across the business to improve customer welfare at home. This will include any non-emergency repairs which significantly impact our customer’s quality of life. For a list of non-emergency repairs we may still carry out please view the following document: Property Care - Urgent Repairs.pdf [pdf] 111KB

In addition to those listed on the above document, we are also adding:

  1. Containable water leaks
  2. Intermittent heating and or hot water
  3. System pressure loss
  4. Loss of system control/external control faults

We will continue to update this article with further changes as these arise.

3. INDEPENDENT LIVING AND SUPPORTED HOUSING SERVICES that safeguard the ongoing safety and well-being of our more vulnerable customers.

We will be in touch with customers by phone and will give a written update about our revised services and how we can continue to support you.

4. OUR OFFICES

All our offices are currently closed, and will remain closed for the foreseeable future.  The easiest way to access our services is via our website, or call us on 0333 200 7304 or email info@platformhg.com. Please do not contact us by letter as our offices are closed.

If you are about to move into your new Platform Housing Group home, we will be in touch to explain what happens now.

5. GARAGES

Following the closure of our offices due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it will not be possible for Platform Housing Group to let garages at the present time.  Applications for garage site waiting lists will continue to be accepted.  If you have an e-mail address please include this with your enquiry.

When we are in a position to commence letting garages in the future, for customers in Worcestershire we will update our website to advise customers to apply via the Choice Based Lettings System and bid on available advertised garages or in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire applicants will be contacted direct.  Please direct all enquires to info@platformhg.com.

6. COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Platform Housing Group has amended the existing timescales within our Complaints Procedure and also the methods available to customers to make complaints.

Investigations may take longer than our revised timescales due to the availability of staff in the business.

All of our offices are currently closed so due to this we will only be able to receive feedback made on our website, by e-mail or by phone. We will be providing all written responses via e-mail until further notice. We will of course review these temporary amendments when government guidance changes.

For more information please download our latest  Customer Feedback Brochure [pdf] 579KB.

7. CORONAVIRUS AND DOMESTIC ABUSE SUPPORT

A full list of resources, published by the Home Office, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help. This includes multilingual advice, and organisations who specialise in specific forms of abuse. Below is Platform's statement and links for our key operating areas.

We know that this is a difficult and challenging time for everyone – but particularly so for adults and children living with domestic abuse and the professionals working hard to support them. Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option. We know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can negatively impact survivors and create circumstances where their safety is further compromised.

As always, if you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police. If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic abuse and are under quarantine amid the coronavirus outbreak, local and national organisation’s want you to know: You are not alone, and help is still available.

Regional/National Helplines

GOV.UK Domestic abuse - how to get help: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help

West Midlands Forced Marriage: 24hr helpline 0800 953 9777

National Domestic Violence Helpline: www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk - 24hr helpline 0808 2000 247

National LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline: 0800 999 5428

Rape Crisis England and Wales: 0808 802 9999

Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327

Victim Support: 0300 303 1977 / www.victimsupport.org

Respect helpline (for anyone worried about their own behaviour): 0808 802 0231

Useful Apps for victims

8. CONCERNED ABOUT RENT PAYMENTS?

We are here to support you during these uncertain times. If you are struggling with rent please get in touch with us as soon as possible and we will see what we can do to help.

Call: 0333 200 7304 or Email: rents@platformhg.com

Please click the following link to find out more about the help and support we offer:
https://www.platformhg.com/news/rent-and-support-information-for-tenants-impacted-by-covid19-2005

If you are a Platform Home Ownership customer, please see their website for more informationhttps://www.platformhomeownership.com/news/information-for-platform-home-ownership-customers-impacted-by-covid-19/

We will NOT evict anyone for being unable to pay rent because of the coronavirus situation. Nor will we take an unreasonable action to collect arrears during any financial difficulties you may find yourself as a result of the impact of the virus. We will work with you to find affordable solutions to help you though the situation and do all we can to help you stay in your home.

9. HERE TO HELP YOU

We realise that these are challenging times for all of our customers and we are here to help you. We are contacting customers who we know are aged 69 ½ and above or have informed us of any vulnerabilities to see if there is anything that we can help you with, or to put you in touch with other organisations that may be able to offer you support.

If you are concerned about anything in your neighbourhood or community please get in touch on 0333 200 7304 or email info@platformhg.com

PLEASE REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE SELF-ISOLATING OR HAVE CORONAVIRUS and need an emergency repair, please make us aware when you contact us. This is so that we don’t put you, our contractors or our team at risk. We will carry out risk assessments on an individual basis and this may mean that we will be unable to enter your home until after the recommended isolation period.  We will keep in touch with you and will try to rearrange appointments as soon as we possibly can.

Please keep checking back on this page or via our social media channels (@PlatformHousing) for all our latest updates as we continue to review our services and what we’re able to provide during this period.  Over the coming  days we will be telling you more about changes to the benefits system, hardship funds and other community support available to help guide you through these difficult times. LOOK OUT FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Please bear with us as we continue to change the way we work to accommodate latest government advice. The health and safety of our customers, contractors, our team and the wider community remains our highest priority

Please refer to the NHS England website (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/) for the latest advice and guidance