During the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), housing associations across Wales are having to rapidly adapt their services and focus their attentions on priority areas. Janet Bochel, Executive Director of Family Housing Association in Swansea tells us what they have been doing to support tenants:
“Our priority has been to ensure our more vulnerable tenants have everything they need, that has meant contacting all resident over 70 years old, tenants who have health issues, and anyone living in sheltered accommodation and Extra Care schemes.
The team has been checking to make sure tenants are being communicated with regularly, making note of those who want weekly calls, or even daily, and then ensuring that provisions are in place to make sure everyone is able to get groceries, that they are comfortable and feel reassured. They have been working with other agencies to get the support that Tenants need.
Our extra care scheme has been delivering takeaway meals and arranging food deliveries, setting up accounts to take away the financial burden for anyone who might be experiencing increased hardship due to the current situation.
Many of our staff who have found their roles less busy over the last few weeks are volunteering their time to help and are now being trained up to provide support led care. We are making sure that resources are being shared around so that the strain is being reduced for the teams that are finding themselves at a reduced capacity due to illness.
A resource pack has also been put together to help guide Tenants and staff with paying rent and accessing benefits.
Having our in house teams supporting where there are staff shortages also means that we are reducing the number of new people our tenants are having to meet, which can be difficult to manage for people with ill mental health who require more stability.
Despite this being an unprecedented time for us all, we have been overwhelmed with the way the team at Family Housing has risen to the occasion, volunteering their weekends and evenings to support colleagues and tenants as much as possible.
We have also seen the tenant’s associations stepping in to support neighbours who are self-isolating. There is a real sense that the community is coming together to support each other.”
“I’d like to say thanks to all the staff here, also the catering staff on site. They are all looking after us extremely well. I thought I’d let you know how much I appreciate what is being done for us all here.”
“I wasn’t expecting a call from you, it’s so nice to speak to someone and know they care”
“Thank you so much for calling, I haven’t spoken to anyone in a couple of days”
“Thank you for thinking of us”
“You are really thoughtful”
“These are frightening times, it’s nice to know you care”