Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

We want to reassure you that we are taking all measures to ensure your health and safety, along with that of our colleagues and contractors, whist continuing delivery of essential services. We are following Government and Public Health England guidelines which means there are changes to the way we do things such as repairs.

We will be supporting you and resolving as many issues as possible by telephone. If we do need to visit you at home, e.g. if we need to carry out a repair, we will ask you a number of questions relating to coronavirus before entering your property based on the advice from Public Health England and the NHS.

We have put together some frequently asked questions to help explain how we are responding to the coronavirus outbreak. We will be following government advice daily and providing updates as necessary, so please continue to visit our website, Facebook and Twiter pages. 

 

What CGA services will be affected due to coronavirus?

We have temporarily closed the reception area at Harbour House from Wednesday 18th March until further notice.If you need to get in touch, please contact us on 0800 953 0213 or visit www.communitygateway.co.uk/contact-us.

As a precautionary measure we have also decided to temporarily close Sion Park Community Hub and Moor Nook Central and stopped all community based meetings. The minibus is also not available for hire until further notice.

We are also reducing the number of non-urgent repairs we are carrying out during this time, to prioritise emergency repairs.

We sincerely apologise for any disruption this will cause to you and our community groups. Please be assured that we have contingency plans in place to continue to offer you the support and service you require in line with the advice from the government and the NHS.

 

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

If you are in this situation, you must let us know if you are reporting an emergency repair, asking for a home visit, or have one already arranged.

Self-isolation means that you must avoid contact with other people to avoid spreading the virus, so we will be unable to visit anyone who is self-isolating.

In circumstances such as, routine repairs, we will look to rearrange the appointment for a time when you are well again. This is so that we can play our own part in stopping the virus spreading and help protect our tenants, staff and contractors from the infection.

In the case of serious emergencies we will liaise with other services, for example the health, fire, or police services, as necessary and on a case-by-case basis to help ensure your safety whilst not putting anyone else at risk.

 

Will my repairs appointment still be going ahead?

Keeping you safe in your home remains our top priority. At this time, we are reducing the number of non-urgent repairs we are carrying out. From Tuesday 17th March we will be prioritising services to ensure that we can support our most vulnerable customers and deal with essential emergency repairs. 

We are currently making the very best use of our resources at this challenging time and keeping everyone safe, therefore, we will be reducing exposure to both customers and colleagues for non-compliance, however, it is important that gas servicing and electrical inspections still take place.  Our focus is on making safe anything that could affect the health or safety of our customers.

If one of our repairs operative is attending your home they will be asking you a few questions before they enter your property. You will be asked if you have any of the following symptoms: a new continuous cough; a fever and a high temperature or are experiencing difficulty breathing. We will also ask if you have made the decision to self-isolate or been told to self-isolate by 111 or by a medical professional. These questions are necessary so we can limit the risk of the virus to other tenants, our staff and our contractors.

 

Am I at risk of catching coronavirus from CGA staff visiting me?

Our colleagues are at no higher risk of getting the infection that anyone in the area. We monitor daily to check if any colleagues are affected and we have plans in place to counteract this or if the infection becomes more widespread and starts to affect the organisation.

All of our employees are fully aware of the current requirements. They are undertaking additional health and safety procedures to ensure that the highest possible hygiene standards are maintained, throughout every aspect of our service including visiting and working in your home.

 

What will happen if CGA has to close down due to coronavirus?

We have contingency plans in place to help us continue providing essential services in the event of a range of emergency situations. If large numbers of staff cannot work as they are unwell we may need to cut back on some services for a time while we focus on more urgent work.

We have invested in technology which means that many of our staff can work from home so if the official advice from the government changes and people are well but advised not to go out, they can continue providing services to our customers.

 

If I am sick and can’t pay my rent, will my home be at risk?

We understand this may be a difficult time for some of our customers, and want to reassure you that we take into account your personal circumstances when dealing with unpaid rent.  However, we can only do this if you let us know of any problems you are having.  If you have any concerns in relation to paying your rent, or if you are experiencing financial difficulty, please contact us straight away.  Our specialist officers will be able to provide advice on any additional support that may be available, whether this is around setting up a payment plan, assessing if you are entitled to welfare benefits, or how to access food provision.

If you are in receipt of full Housing Benefit/Housing Element you should see no change and payments will continue as normal. Therefore, if you receive Housing Element within your Universal Credit payment, you are still required to pay this over to CGA.

 

My employer has told me not to come to work because of the coronavirus. My income this month will be affected – do I still need to pay my rent?
You will still need to pay your rent as usual but we understand that the spread of coronavirus in the UK could have implications for your income. Please contact us on 0800 953 0213 if you think you are going to have difficulty paying your rent.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be paid from day one instead of day four for those affected by coronavirus. If you’re not eligible for SSP, you might be able to claim other benefits. If you would like any additional advice on claiming these benefits please contact our Tenancy Support Team on 0800 953 0213.

 

Can you tell me the different ways in which I can pay my rent if I can’t leave the house because of coronavirus?

Our Income Management Team can take payment over the phone by debit and credit card.  In addition, rent payments can be made using the Allpay mobile phone application, and online via the Allpay website. Alternatively, you can also set up a standing order through online banking.

For further details on any of these payment options, please contact our Income Management Team on 0800 953 0213.

 

What do I do if someone at my sheltered accommodation has coronavirus?

We are taking measures to minimise the disruption to our services and will continue to provide help and support to all residents. In our sheltered schemes, we have temporarily closed the lounges and kitchens, Public Health England and NHS information is on display and we have increased the frequency of cleaning.

If an individual at your sheltered accommodation has symptoms of coronavirus, they will be asked to self-isolate in their room and further information will be provided in due course.

 

I think someone in my block of flats has contracted coronavirus, what should I do?
If you think you’ve been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

CGA will follow any advice provided by Public Health England following a confirmed case of coronavirus in our properties.

 

I am due to hand my keys in to end my tenancy, what should I do?
If you have told us that you are ending your tenancy then you can post your keys to us at the following address:

Community Gateway Association

Harbour House

Port Way

Preston

PR2 2DW

 

I am due to hand my keys in to end my tenancy, however, I am not able to move because of coronavirus, what should I do?
If you are unable to move out of your property at the end of your notice period please contact us to let us know.

We will contact you to discuss how long you need to remain living at the property and make arrangements for you to return your keys at a later date. We will continue to charge you a weekly rent whilst you remain living there.

 

I am due to sign for my new home – will this still go ahead?
We are prioritising properties as they come through, a small number are ready to move into now and these will go ahead, we will assess other properties on a daily basis, we will contact customers to keep them up-to-date

 

I'm feeling really anxious about coronavirus, who can I contact if I am concerned?

It's completely understandable to be worried about the impact coronavirus may have on you or those you care about. Try to stay calm and follow the official advice from the Government.

All medical advice and assistance should be directed through your GP or the NHS 111 service. If your concerns are not medical The Tenant Support and Wellbeing Service (TSWS) provide round the clock confidential information, advice and counselling and can be contacted on Freephone 0330 094 8845.

 

How can I continue contributing my views on CGA services?

Any community involvement activities previously arranged have been cancelled until further notice although we may still contact you digitally where possible to do so.

You can continue contributing online by visiting our website and social media channels, allowing you to quickly access the information you need at a time and location best for you. You can participate in live Q&A sessions and completing online surveys, there are lots of ways for you to get involved with us online.

 

Further Information

The NHS is offering an online and telephone service where you can find out what to do if you think you have symptoms, or you might have been exposed to the virus. You can get advice by calling 111 or filling in an online form, by visiting https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19