Covid-19 Service Updates

Service updates - Covid-19

We are dealing with a high volume of calls at the moment about housing applications and allocations.  This is putting additional pressure on our service.  We would ask tenants and applicants to limit their contact with housing officers at the moment to essential queries only – for example, advice on homelessness.

 

 


Homelessness

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, you should call 01595 744360 and ask to speak to a Housing Officer who will be able to advise you. If you are asked to visit the office at 8 North Ness, you will first be asked the appropriate screening questions.  You should not attend the office unless you have been asked to as you will not be seen.


Housing Repairs 

The Housing Repairs Service are working through the backlog of repairs due to the Covid pandemic.  We are prioritising work ordered in tenant's homes as well as carrying out essential works to empty houses so properties can be let.


Details of the different priorities and timescales can be found at Housing Repairs and Maintenance


Please note that tenants can continue to report all repairs. The Repair Helpdesk can be contacted on 01595 744399 or housingrepairs@shetland.gov.uk

The safety of our tenants and employees remains our priority. We have developed Health and Safety risk assessments for any work to be carried out in tenants’ homes with screening questions being asked prior to any work commencing. As always, we would ask for co-operation to allow us to work safely.

Our capital work programme is going ahead.   Please note that due to the pandemic, changes to timescales may be required, to ensure the safety of our tenants, staff and contractors.


Housing Applications

Housing Applications are being processed in line with our Allocation Policy.


Housing Allocations and Transfers

Allocations are being made at the moment, in line with Scottish Government guidance.


Mutual Exchanges

In line with the Scottish Government Guidance in place to deal with the Covid19 pandemic, as we are in Level 0, mutual exchanges can now be considered. All applicants must adhere to the restrictions and no exchanges are to take place until formal agreements are in place.

 

 


Community Housing Support

Staff are carrying out regular contact with community housing support customers by telephone.

 


Financial Support and Advice due to the Coronavirus

If you are facing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus outbreak and need help,

  • You can claim Universal Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions for your rent which includes support for housing costs, an income replacement element and child tax credits, where eligible. There are some temporary changes that have been put into effect which makes this easier at this time.
  • You should apply for Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit, where eligible.

UK Government press release for employees, benefit claimants and businesses.

Housing and Finance staff are working closely together to support our tenants at this time and ask that if you are having financial difficulties and/or unable to pay your rent on time, please get in touch with us.

Contact Details -

  • Housing Service - 01595 74 4360
  • Finance (Rents) – 01595 74 4648
  • Finance (Benefits) - 01595 744682
  • Finance (Arrears) - 01595 744623
  • Finance (Crisis / Community Care Grants) - 01595 744629

The Scottish Government has made an announcement about financial support for communities during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes:

  • Additional funds for the Council Tax Reduction scheme if necessary
  • Additional money for Community Care and Crisis Grants
  • More money for Social security benefits
  • A Food fund for those experiencing an income drop or self-isolation, including elderly people and those receiving free school meals
  • Help for those experiencing fuel poverty

Help for Community groups for example to enable free food and essential supplies


Notice for all Tenants and Customers

The risk to vulnerable people, including victims of domestic abuse, will unfortunately continue during the Coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, with restrictions on movement, there may be an increased risk with more time spent in the home.

However, support is still available and we would like to sign-post you to some specialist agencies who can help:

Shetland Womens' Aid

Email: office@shetlandwa.org
Website: www.shetlandwa.org
Telephone: 01595 692070
Mobiles: 07867 300565 and 07810 796556

Phone calls/texts will be answered as soon as possible – generally staff will be available 9-12 every weekday.

Shetland Rape Crisis

Centre Hours: Mon-Thurs 9am-1.30pm
Centre Number: 01595 747174
RCS Helpline: 08088 010302 (6pm-midnight)
Email: contact@shetlandrapecrisis.scot

Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage

Helpline 24 hour: 0800 027 1234

https://mensadviceline.org.uk/
Freephone – 0808 801 0327

Safe2Speak.co.uk
01744 743 200

www.safershetland.com offers an excellent resource of local numbers and information relating to adult protection, child protection and Domestic Abuse and gender-based violence.

Police Scotland continue to deal with Domestic Abuse incidents, which is a criminal offence. In an emergency please call 999 and in a non-emergency please call 101.