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#HousingDay celebrates the positive impact of social housing on millions of tenants and takes place today, Wednesday 7 October 2020.

Now in its eighth year, #HousingDay has played an important role in raising the profile of the social housing sector and ensuring the voices of residents are heard. The theme for 2020 is 'The importance of home' in support of the national ‘Homes at the Heart’ campaign and coalition calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing. The cross-sector campaign has been set up to highlight the crucial role decent, safe, and genuinely affordable housing plays, not only in times of crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic, but always.

At WH we've been busy during the coronavirus pandemic supporting customers as best as we can as well as empowering others. Have a watch of our video which includes a few examples and messages from customers and colleagues. We are more than just bricks and mortar, we help people get on in life, by unlocking their potential.


Jane, Customer

When I went into shielding, I felt scared and alone and thought how am I going to get through this? Months of not seeing anybody, no human contact, it was a horrible feeling.

Then I received a phone call from WH, that day I smiled. I felt that somebody was listening and helping. Food parcels, that sound of the door knocking each week, delivered by lovely drivers with a friendly hello lifted my spirits.

The kind-hearted volunteer shoppers were so organised and quick to bring back what I needed, always with smiles on their faces. Phone calls each week, checking to see how I was. Wow, I looked forward to that phone call from the Community Development Officer at WH, Evelyn, who made me laugh each week. She even organised a hot meal for me once a week.

WH you made me feel like I wasn't alone, in a situation that nobody has been in before. I thank each and every one of you!

 

Chantelle, Money Smart Officer

The Money Smart Team have been busy supporting tenants who have found themselves in financial difficulties during the coronavirus crisis. Whilst some tenants need longer term support to maintain their rent accounts, some are now "getting back on their feet" and we do follow up calls after eight to 12 weeks of working with someone to see how they are getting on.

A recent example of this saw a customer get referred to Money Smart at the start of May with arrears of £1100 and 'bedroom tax to pay'. They didn't want to engage with the team and was reluctant to discuss money issues. After they opened up, we found out that the customer had lost their job back in February. We advised them to make a claim for Universal Credit and then we applied for a DHP to cover his bedroom tax which was successful.

We received rent and arrears payments direct from his Universal Credit to reduce the arrears and we continue to monitor the account. On our follow up call to the customer, they had happily returned to work, was enjoying it and in a much more positive mindset. They are now able to make further payments to reduce arrears and are in an agreement to pay one month in advance, to limit falling back into a similar situation as before.

The Money Smart Team also successfully applied for a hardship payment for two weeks rent, which has cleared the remaining arrears on the account and allows for a fresh start. We understand that for some customers it is a difficult time, but if you are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic, our Money Smart Team help on a case by case basis. It’s important that you feel comfortable in your tenancy and happy in your home.

 

We recently shared blogs from Callum, Evelyn and more regarding their efforts in supporting customers during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Please give them a read here. #HomesAtTheHeart

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