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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Service Updates - Updated Wednesday 20th January 09:00

Community Support Services

Updated Wednesday 20th January 09:00

We are continuing to take referrals into our services.  If you would like to make a referral please contact our services directly via (email/telephone or complete this digital form online ). Please be assured that each of our services has a Business Continuity Plan to enable us to carry on supporting our clients, whilst taking account of the latest Government advice around the Covid 19 pandemic If you are able to offer practical support to any of our services we’d encourage you to get in touch with them.

Housing Services

Updated Wednesday 7th October 14:00

We are doing all we can to provide ‘business as usual’ although please be patient with us if this does not go as smoothly as normal. We will continue to answer phone calls, however you may find things take a little longer – if possible please contact us on Livechat between 9.00 and 5.00 on weekdays (accessed by the popup box at the bottom right of this screen) or email us at info@chsgroup.org.uk. We will reply to e-mails as quickly as possible. If you are a ‘myCHS‘ subscriber you can contact us, for example to report a new repair. We have continued to suspend home visits, although we may occasionally be able to meet at a social distance outdoors in the case of new tenancies. 

During the lock-down period we suspended mutual exchanges to comply with government guidance and for the safety of both customers and staff. Since the government guidelines around moving home were relaxed, we have continued to monitor the situation and to review our processes. We are pleased to say we can now consider mutual exchange applications again – although we cannot guarantee that another landlord involved with an exchange will be considering mutual exchanges. In order for CHS to consider a mutual exchange application, you would need to be able to:

  • Take your Housing Officer on a live video ‘tour’ of your home using an App such as WhatsApp;
  • Work with us to ensure a remote or socially distant signing of the final paperwork.

We will try to provide our normal services by phone, Live chat and e-mail. (See our separate page on repairs and maintenance services). We are conscious that self-isolation and the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic can make it far more difficult for you if you are in an abusive relationship. You can still seek help, all agencies including the police are still available for you. CHS can advise you, you can phone the national helpline on 0808 2000247 and there is a lot of information here

We understand you may also be worried about paying your rent.

CHS is backing the approach taken by our trade body, the National Housing Federation. This means that:

  • We will not evict you from your home if you are in financial hardship caused by coronavirus, where you are working with us to get your payments back on track.
  • We will help you to access benefits and provide other support to relieve hardship (see our separate page on money advice).
  • While you are struggling, we will work with you to find arrangements to pay rent that are manageable for you. Legal action will only be taken in serious circumstances, for example if you will not agree a plan with us to help pay your rent, or where it is urgently needed in cases of domestic abuse or of anti-social behaviour.

As always, we are keen to hear from you if you are going to struggle to make your normal rent payments. Our Housing Officers and Money Matters team can talk you through what help there may be (and we’ll monitor what extra help the government might announce). If you need more time while you catch up on your payments, we’ll listen and agree a plan with you, and ask you to pay whatever you can while things are sorted out, for example while you wait for benefits to be sorted out.

Money Advice

Updated Wednesday 20th January 2021

  • ESA: New-style (contribution based) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can now be claimed online.   https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-new-style-esa
  • Tax Credits: HMRC confirms that people not working their normal hours because of coronavirus will retain entitlement to their usual tax credits. Claimants do not need to contact HMRC as they will be treated as working their normal hours until the Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme close. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-credits-customers-will-continue-to-receive-payments-even-if-working-fewer-hours-due-to-covid-19
  • Disability Benefits: Claimants of disability benefits such as PIP, DLA, AA, ESA & UC which are due for review or renewal are being sent forms. If you need help with filling them in, please contact the Money Matters Team.  Face to face Medical Assessments for PIP, ESA & UC are still not taking place. Assessments are being done by phone. If you need support, please contact the Money Matters team and we may be able to be present on a 3-way call with you and the Assessor.  If the DWP feel they have enough information they may be able to make a PIP decision based on the form and the supporting documentation (a paper-based decision).  Benefit appeals are not taking place face to face, but via telephone calls. The Money Matters team may be able to help.

Covid 19 work worries:

This may be a very worrying time for you if your work situation has changed.

This may include issues such as:

  • I have been furloughed.
  • I have been made redundant.
  • I have had my working hours reduced.
  • I am self-employed and work has dried up.
  • I don’t know which benefits I can claim.
  • I have no money for food, heating or other bills.
  • I have rent arrears or other debts.

CHS has a team of Money Matters Advisors who can help you to understand what support may be available.  Our Advisors are available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm by phone, text or email to answer your questions. If you are a CHS customer email the Money Matters team at moneyadvice@chsgroup.org.uk.   When you e-mail please include your name, address, phone number and brief details of your query. We will do our best to help you through this difficult time. 

Home visits:

During lockdown we are unable to do any home visits. When Covid 19 rules allow we will return to doing limited home visits.  We will be wearing PPE and be socially distancing to reduce the risk of infection. 

Government help already available:

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Furlough Scheme extended

Workers across the United Kingdom will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the furlough scheme.

  • the furlough scheme will now be extended until the end of March 2021.
  • Employees receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. 
  • There is currently no employer contribution to wages for hours not worked.
  • Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for hours not worked.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

SEISS – The Self – Employed Income Support Scheme. 

Self Employed grant 3 – stricter criteria

  • The third SEISS opened on 30th It covers the period from 1st November 2020 to 31st January 2021. The eligibility criteria are similar to the previous grants, but the rules now say you must expect a ‘significant reduction in profits’, not just ‘adversely affected’, as in previous grants.
  • The amount is now 80% of average monthly trading profits over 3 months, capped at £7,500. Those who were excluded before are still excluded. Only those who were eligible to apply for the first two grants are eligible for the third. You must have filed a tax return for 2018/19, your average trading profit must be no more than £50,000 a year and 50% or more of your income must come from self-employment. If you are more recently self-employed you may not qualify and may need to apply for Universal Credit.
  • Applications opened on 30th HM Revenue & Customs has written to all those potentially eligible to claim. You have until 29th January to claim. You do it via the Government claims portal and will need your self-assessment unique taxpayer reference, national insurance number, Government Gateway user ID and password, and bank details.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-self-employed-and-getting-less-work-or-no-work

SEISS – The Self – Employed Income Support Scheme. 

Self Employed grant 4 –

  • The fourth grant will cover a three-month period in 2021 from the start of February until the end of April. HMRC will set out further details, including the level of the fourth grant in due course.

Other information:

  • Employees who have COVID-19 or who are self-isolating in line with government advice are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the first day off work if not covered by an employer’s scheme. Rules about ‘fit’ notes will be relaxed for COVID-19 related absence.
  • New Style (contributory) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be payable for people who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating from the first day of sickness, instead of having to wait until the eight day.
  • People who are directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating will be able to claim Universal Credit (UC) if they can’t qualify for enough SSP or ESA to live on, as Universal Credit can help you pay your rent.
  • From 6thApril 2020 the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit has increased by an extra £20 per week. For a single person the monthly UC has increased from £317.82 to £409.89 per month. This is only for the remainder of the 2020-2021 tax year. 
  • An extension to the mortgage payment holiday for homeowners
Older People’s Services

Updated Wednesday 7th October 14:00

During this ever changing COVID -19 situation if you have any concerns about your relatives living in our care and support services or want to find out more about what we do please contact the local manager

Care Homes

Click here to access CHS Guidance on COVID 19 for Care Homes (V2) 

Click here to access Keeping safe in residential care settings during the Pandemic 2020 guide

Alex Wood House 01223 578602

Langdon House  01223 578601

Vera James House 01353 661113

Housing with Care Schemes

Dunstan Court 01223 241330

Moorlands Court 01763 260564

Richard Newcombe Court  01223 352135

Click here to access Housing with Care Contingency Plan 4 phases March 2020

Sheltered Schemes

Barnabas Court, Ellis House and St Andrews Glebe 07525 902707

Repairs & Maintenance

Updated Wednesday 7th October 14:00

  • It is now still business as usual with regards to emergency and non-emergency repairs; please contact the usual number 0300 111 3555 or report repairs via myCHS or Live Chat.
  • Our contractors have all been briefed on hygiene precautions. However, if you have a scheduled appointment over the coming weeks for a repair and are self-isolating or do not want a contractor entering your property at this time, please contact them directly to cancel.
  • If a contractor does attend your property, distance yourself and your family by at least two metres and ask them if they can wash their hands before and after the visit.
  • Gas Safety checks are continuing will continue as normal, and you will be contacted to arrange access.
  • Communal repairs and servicing visits are continuing will continue in the usual way to ensure safety and compliance
  • Internal cleaning of communal areas, window cleaning and handy person visits are continuing will continue in the normal way
  • Gardening/Grounds Maintenance visits are continuing will continue in line with the agreed schedule – this can be found here
  • Work to replace kitchens, bathrooms and boilers have now recommenced, and you will be contacted separately if your home is due to have any of these works carried out. You will be provided with details of how our contractors will be delivering these works to ensure the health and safety of you and your household.
Sunflower Nurseries

Updated Wednesday 20th January 09:00

Our Nurseries in Cambridge and Cambourne are open and if you are interested in our provision, please fill in our enquiry form below and we will get in touch with you shortly.  Please be assured that keeping children and staff safe is our utmost priority and we are following Government guidance on minimising the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.  We would be delighted to hear from you.

Cambridge Nursery enquiry form

Cambourne Nursery enquiry form

Coronavirus Information - FAQs

Beware of Covid 19 Vaccine Fraud

Despite all the hard work and challenges people are facing at the moment, there are people who want to exploit the situation we are in. Please be aware of what to look out for and share this information with family and friends to ensure we keep everybody safe.

Advice if you are worried about domestic abuse

During the period when we’re having to stay at home and to spend a lot of time with our own household members, we realise this can cause you extra challenges if you live with domestic abuse. There is never an excuse for domestic abuse, no matter what the circumstances. CHS will not tolerate it, and will support you, as will lots of other organisations.

If you are already affected by domestic abuse, or feel more at risk of abuse, there is help and support available to you. You can still contact helplines, online support, refuges and the police. The government’s instruction to stay at home as a result of COVID-19 does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.  Click here for more information on keeping safe and getting help.

If you are in danger, call 999 – and press 55 on a mobile if you are not able to talk – this will take you straight to the police who will be careful to find out safely what you need.    

The abuse you go through may not be physical violence – it might be financial control, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse. Does your partner :

  • Stop you keeping in touch with family and friends, even while you can’t visit them?
  • Control your money, or not give you enough to buy essentials?
  • Blame you for abuse or arguments?
  • Threaten you?
  • Push or shove you, or worse?
  • Read your emails, texts or letters?
  • Destroy things that belong to you?

There are many other signs that you may be in abusive relationship. Anyone can be subjected to domestic abuse, and should not feel afraid to report it; you are not alone, and there is help available. 

While everyone is spending a lot more time at home, you may be worried about what you hear from your neighbours’ homes. If you are worried that a neighbour may be suffering domestic abuse, you may be able to help them report it to the police, or listen to them while they decide what they want to do, without pushing them if they aren’t ready yet. You can also call the national helpline (0808 2000247) for advice on how support them. If you think they are in immediate danger, call 999. Or call CHS and tell us why you are concerned, we will help.  

If you are worried that you or someone you know may be an abuser, you can also seek help. Respect is an anonymous and confidential helpline (0808 8024040) for men and women who are harming their partners and families. 

For more advice and to find out how to seek help, go to

National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000247

https://www.womensaid.org.uk/covid-19-coronavirus-safety-advice-for-survivors/ (with a link to Live Chat Monday to Friday 10 -12 pm)

or https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help

Do you need help from a NHS Volunteer

Hundreds of thousands of people have volunteered to become NHS Volunteer responders and are able to offer a range of services e.g. delivering medicines from pharmacies, shopping, driving patients to appointments, making regular phone calls to check in on people isolating at home.

If you could use such help (e.g. you are over 70 with an underlying health condition, or have another high-risk condition) you may already have been referred to the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) by your health professional, NHS 111, pharmacist or local authority – if not, do ask them to refer you. CHS is not automatically eligible to refer you to the RVS however if you need advice do give us a call.

How to tell the NHS if you have experienced the coronavirus

To tell the NHS about your current experience of coronavirus click here

Information for employers and businesses

For information on Employers & Businesses Guidance click here

Information on symptoms and how to avoid coronavirus

For information on the symptoms of the corona virus and how to avoid it click here to visit the NHS website

If you need medical help or advice

Use the 111 online coronavirus service if you feel you need medical help

Reliable information on how the UK is affected by coronavirus

For guidance on how the UK is affected by the coronavirus click here (GOV.UK is updated daily and is the best source of reliable information)

Advice about staying at home

For advice about staying at home visit the NHS website click here.

DATA PROTECTION

We have a legal obligation to protect the health and safety of our staff, suppliers, and contractors. We may therefore ask you to tell us if you are self-isolating or have been diagnosed with the virus. We believe it is in our legitimate interests to process such data to protect everyone’s health and well-being. However, we won’t disclose this information to anyone else unless it is for the following lawful reasons:

  • to comply with a legal obligation
  • where there is a substantial public interest to do so
  • if we need to protect the vital interests (health and safety) of you or another person
  • if you have already made the information public

For example, we may have to give Public Health England or another relevant statutory body  information, or seek advice from them or we may need to protect our contractors and suppliers by letting them know where we have properties affected by Covid-19 cases. Please visit our full privacy notice to find out more about how to exercise your rights or what to do if you have any concerns about the use of your data. You might also find this link to the ICO’s  Guidance from the ICO on Coronavirus and Personal Data  helpful. Thank you for your understanding.

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