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Coronavirus update: November

04 November 2020

Following the government’s announcement on 31 October about a second national lockdown we know that our customers might have questions about our services and what steps we’re taking to keep everyone safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

At the moment, based on the information available to us, we do not expect our services to be significantly affected by the new measures in place throughout November. We are reviewing guidance as it becomes available to us and will keep you updated through our website and social media channels if anything changes.

We have put together some frequently asked questions to help explain how we are continuing to adapt in response to the pandemic. If you have any questions for us, please email them to communications@futureshg.co.uk


Coronavirus: frequently asked questions

1. What should I do to avoid catching coronavirus?

We recommend that you continue to follow official medical and health advice provided by the government. You can find out more at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response. We also suggest that you keep an eye on responsible news sources, such as the BBC, to stay up-to-date on developments with the outbreak.

Reducing the amount of contact you have with people outside your family and hand washing still seem to the most effective ways of reducing your risk of catching the virus.

2. Can I still log a routine repair or other problem?

Yes - at the moment, the government guidance allows us to keep our services running, including repairs to your home. Please follow the guidance below if you have an appointment with a Futures team member or contractor:

  • If you have an appointment with someone from Futures, or one of our contractors, that must take place in person, please stay at least 2 metres (the height of an average door) apart from them for the duration of the visit.
  • If one of our repairs operatives has to visit your home, please allow them to use your facilities to wash their hands when they arrive and before leaving.
  • Please leave the room when our operatives are working in your home, to make sure social distancing is being maintained.
  • Please advise our customer services team before your appointment if you or anyone in your family has symptoms of Covid-19, are self-isolating, or if you are in a high risk or vulnerable group.
  • You will also be asked a series of Covid-19 related questions before an operative enters your home, and they may give you further advice based on your answers.

3. If I get sick due to coronavirus, will you still come out to do repairs at my home?

Yes, however, we will only do Priority or Fast repairs if a member of the household has tested positive for coronavirus. We ask you to give this information as soon as possible so we can ensure that our operatives have full PPE and can take precautions to keep themselves safe. We will ask you to isolate in a different room while the work takes place. 

We will also carry out repairs in a home where household members are shielding for health reasons.

4. Am I at risk of catching coronavirus from your staff visiting me?

Any Futures team member who shows signs of possible infection with coronavirus, or lives with someone who does, is instructed to self-isolate in line with government recommendations. Now that testing is more widely available, we are also encouraging any employee who thinks they may have the virus to be tested. Where home visits are necessary, we will carry out a full risk assessment based on official government guidance, and our operatives will wear full PPE.

We are therefore as confident as we can be that we are effectively controlling any potential risk of our employees passing on (or catching) the virus during home visits. 

If you are self-isolating or anxious about letting anyone into your home at this time you can rearrange a repairs appointment by contacting our customer services team, however, if you do this and our advice to you is that this is an emergency that needs to be resolved, this will be entirely at your own risk. If the repair poses a risk to life or the property, we may have to undertake the repair.

If you have an appointment for a gas service, you are legally required to allow us access to your home. This is for your own safety and in line with government guidance. If we are not able to gain access to your home on multiple occasions, we may have to consider legal action.

5. What will happen if Futures has to close down due to coronavirus?

We had contingency plans in place to help us continue providing essential services in the event of a range of emergency situations – including pandemics. We put these plans into action at the start of the coronavirus outbreak and this has helped keep disruption to our work to a minimum.

Most of our office-based staff are still working effectively from home, with a limited number working from our offices in Ripley and Daventry. All office spaces have strict safeguards in place to avoid the risk of spreading the virus in the workplace. Thanks to our investment in technology, many staff can work from home in the same way as they can from the office.

As the latest guidance does not restrict our ability to attend appointments in customer homes, we do not anticipate Futures will have to close due to this lockdown or see any significant impact on services.

6. If I am sick and can’t pay my rent, or forget to pay, will my home be at risk?

Like other housing associations, our underlying policy is that nobody will be evicted as a result of hardship caused by the coronavirus outbreak. We would encourage any customers with money or work worries to use our money and employment advice services. 

7. If I have special needs or someone in my family does, will you treat our repairs as urgent?

The safety and well-being of our customers and our staff is our number one priority. If you feel that you or a member of your household are at high risk of harm due to a repair need, please make our contact centre team aware of this.

8. I was due to be moving into a Futures Housing Group property now or soon. Can this still go ahead?

Yes, the government guidance released following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 31 October allows house moves to go ahead, so we don’t anticipate any disruption at this stage. If this changes, we will contact everyone affected as soon as possible.

9. How are the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown affecting Beep Assist customers?

Our Beep Assist team has continued to support customers since the start of the outbreak. In some cases that has meant helping people to carry out resets and other small repairs or maintenance tasks with advice and instructions over the telephone. We have also been carrying out customer reviews over the phone. Where this hasn't been possible, our team have been making necessary home visits and using official guidance together with protective equipment to help keep our customers and staff safe.

10. How is the second lockdown affecting supported living schemes?

All customers in our supported living schemes are being asked to wear a face covering in communal areas as part of the updated coronavirus guidance from the government, unless exempt for medical reasons, in addition to following the usual advice around hand washing and social distancing.

Our staff remain on site 24 hours a day and have been provided with appropriate PPE.

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