Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Your contact with South Essex Homes

How can I get in touch with staff?


The vast majority of our staff are currently working from home. Therefore, we recommend you contact us by phone on 0800 833160, or by email: sehcustomerservices@seh.southend.gov.uk

In order to check whether the Civic Centre building is currently open to visitors, please check the Southend Borough Council website


What will you do if I try to make an appointment or I already have an
appointment?


We are only carrying out visits and arranging meetings that are completely essential.

If you have an essential appointment, we will ask you if you or anyone in your household is self-isolating at present or have been infected with Coronavirus.

If you answer ‘yes’ and your call is about anything other than an emergency we will ask you to call back once you are well enough for us to visit.

Breaches of government social distancing guidelines

We have been asked by a number of tenants what they should do if their neighbours are flouting the government’s social distancing rules.

 

If you are concerned due to witnessing clear and obvious breaches of the government’s guidelines , the names (if you have them) and addresses of those responsible should be passed to Essex Police.  You can report this online at www.essex.police.uk or by calling 101.

 

Essex Police may not be able to attend every incident but we at South Essex Homes are working closely with them to follow up any such reports and sharing information about repeat offenders.

 

We have advised residents in sheltered and hostel accommodation not to congregate in communal areas and adhere to social distancing rules.

 

Our SEPS security team are continuing to carry out  patrols of the town centre tower blocks and have been successful in reminding people not to loiter and to stay at home.

 

 

Thank you for your vigilance and for supporting us to encourage residents to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

 

If you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) or are self isolating

Do I need to tell you if I am self-isolating or have been infected with Coronavirus?


Yes you do, if you are expecting a visit from a South Essex Homes employee or one of our contractors you need to contact us so that we can rearrange your appointment.

Repairs

Can I still report a repair?


We urge residents to only report emergency and essential repairs. These
include:

  • Loss of heating FOR VULNERABLE RESIDENTS, ie chronically sick and elderly
  • Complete loss of power
  • Gas leaks
  • Major water leaks
  • Total loss of both hot water and heating
  •  Large dumped rubbish items causing a fire risk or health & safety risk

For all other repairs please email: SEHcustomerservices@seh.southend.gov.uk

Rent and your finances

Are you carrying out evictions?


The Government have stated that there are to be no evictions for three months (from mid-March 2020). Evictions are always the last resort, and South Essex Homes will make every effort to help residents sustain their tenancies.

If you are having trouble paying your rent, please contact either your Tenancy Officer on 0800 833160 (or 01702 212209/212210) or the Specialist Income Management Team on 0800 0234057.

Please also see the rents section of our website for the various payment methods that are available to you.

 

I am worried how I can pay my rent - can you help?


If you are struggling to pay your rent due to the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) or for any other reason, please contact your Tenancy Services Officer on 0800 833 160 (or 01702 212209/212210) or the Income Management team on 0800 0234 057 and we will do our best to help you in this unsettling time.

We currently do not foresee major interruptions to the ways in which you can pay your rent - as Direct Debit, Online Payments, Pay Point, Telephone and Text methods should not be disrupted. However, residents who use ‘over the counter’ methods may now have to choose an alternative.


Is there any help available with Council Tax?


Take a look at the pages on the Southend Borough Council website relating to information on your finances.

 

Will my benefits change?


DWP provide useful information regarding the claiming of benefits through the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have questions about how to go about claiming benefits during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please refer to the useful webpages prepared by the Department of Work & Pensions which is kept updated according to the latest developments.

People making new claims for Universal Credit will no longer need to call the Department as part of the process.

Instead a bolstered frontline team will proactively call claimants if they need to check any of the information provided as part of the claim, as well as messaging them on their online journal to confirm details.

For further details please read the latest press release. 

I’m struggling to afford food, what can I do?


Please visit this website for details of current foodbank provisions across the Southend borough: www.southend.foodbank.org.uk/covid-19/

Sheltered Housing

We issued a booklet for residents of sheltered housing schemes in Southend-on-Sea. 

 

Is my Sheltered Housing Officer still on site?


In order to reduce the potential for exposing our older and therefore most vulnerable residents to infection, South Essex Homes’ staff will not be visiting sheltered housing schemes for the time being.

Those staff members will instead be making regular telephone calls to all residents, with our priority being those without family members, friends or carers who are willing or able to assist them.

This is an evolving situation and as and when national guidance changes, as will our approach to this issue.  We are working towards a plan for the eventuality of those aged over 70 being required to fully self-isolate and we will keep you posted as the advice from the Government develops. 

 

Are you still cleaning communal areas?


Whilst you may not see your usual cleaner(s), please be assured that Caretakers are visiting all schemes regularly and disinfecting handles and other surfaces within communal corridors, lifts etc - in order to limit the potential spread of any infection.

 

Are communal facilities in sheltered schemes still in use?

All communal lounges, kitchen areas and bathroom facilities are closed for health and safety reasons.

Laundry rooms are still open but please ensure that when using this facility, you observe social distancing guidelines and do not stand within 2 metres (6 foot) of anyone else so if the laundry room is in use by someone else and it is not possible to stay apart from them, please either wait a safe distance away until they leave, or go back a little later on.

These rooms, or communal hallways, should not be used as meeting places and you should stay safely inside your own flat wherever possible. In order to maintain social distancing, only one person may use the lift at any one time.

 

Can I visit my friend/relative in sheltered accommodation?


We encourage people to only visit our sheltered housing schemes if their visit is essential – for example if they are a key worker or if they are a friend or relative visiting to drop off food and vital supplies to a resident.

In either case, please do not visit a scheme at all if you or anyone else in your household is feeling unwell or displaying any signs of possible COVID-19 infection.

If you are visiting to drop off food/supplies, please leave the items on the door step of the flat you are visiting, knock on the door and step well away from the front door, by at least 2 metres (6 foot). Do not enter the flat itself and please don’t stay longer than is necessary. Please practice this same social distancing in communal corridors if you encounter another person.

We would be most grateful if you could reiterate this advice of social distancing and staying within their flats to your friends or loved ones who live in sheltered housing.

Estate Services and Caretaking

Will my block/estate still be cleaned?


There will be inevitable reductions in some areas of Estate Services, so we would please ask that no rubbish is left in any communal areas including chute rooms.

We would also urge neighbours consider helping one another, particularly those from vulnerable groups.

Due to staff shortages we will not have enough resources for all of our services to continue as normal but we will do our utmost to provide all essential services.  We ask all residents to play a role and help one another, and us, as much as you can.

Our Estate Services Cleaning and Caretaking teams are out making sure the blocks you live in are safe in terms of fire safety and basic housekeeping, this means the majority of routine cleaning is on hold until further notice during this difficult period.

We aim to keep refuse and bin areas clear and safe and our maintenance Technicians are concentrating on ensuring communal fire doors are operating as they should.

Please help us to keep you safe by keeping all shared areas free of items and please dispose of any unwanted items correctly.

If there are any urgent matters that need to be dealt with please contact us on 0800 833160 , however as mentioned we will not be attending requests to clean areas unless deemed as a Health and Safety hazard.

 

Please help us keep your estate safe and clean


We are seeing a significant increase in bulk rubbish being left on our estates.

Due to staff shortages, we are working tirelessly to ensure we deliver our ‘essential services’ however, this increase in ‘dumped’ items is putting further pressure on our staff.

  • Dispose of rubbish safely and correctly
  • Do not block shared areas including stairwells with rubbish, this is a severe fire risk
  • If you have a large item(s) to be removed, please visit the bulky waste collection service offered by Veolia, this can be done online. Do not remove this item from your home until you have arranged for it to be collected. Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) there may be a delay
  • Please report any residents you witness dumping rubbish or items by email to sehcustomerservices@seh.southend.gov.uk.  Where necessary action can be taken and offenders may be prosecuted.

We ask all residents to play a role and help one another, and us, as much as you can.

Further information about recycling, waste and street cleaning services, can be found on Southend
Borough Council website.

Need more help?

I am struggling and live alone, are you offering any support?


We are working with Southend Borough Council, SAVS and other local agencies to provide support to those who need it during this Coronavirus pandemic.

If your friends and family aren’t able to help you and you have no local support, or if you need help with tasks like food shopping or you’re just feeling isolated - then please call the helpline on 01702 212497, which is open Monday to Friday 9 – 5pm, Saturday &  Sunday 10 – 2pm

You are not alone. If you need us, we’re here.

 

What’s the latest medical advice?

The NHS has issued up-to-date medical advice on its website