During the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), housing associations across Wales are having to change the way they support tenants. Annette Hennessey from Cartrefi Conwy talks about the support they are offering their tenants:
“As the situation with coronavirus started to become more serious, we were conscious that we would have to start making decisions to close our offices and reduce contact with tenants. We also started to receive an increasing number of calls from tenants who were becoming concerned about how the changes might affect them. In an effort to reassure our tenants, we started the ‘Here to Help’ campaign, putting a face to the teams that will be continuing to provide support, and how that support will look for now.
Nerys usually works as an Older Person’s Engagement Officer, arranging activities for older residents. Because these activities have had to be put on hold for now, Nerys is now working with a newly formed wellbeing team. The team is made up of colleagues, some of which have now been redeployed from other areas, and they spend their time phoning older and more vulnerable tenants to see what help and support they might need over the coming weeks.
We have also had several tenants get in touch with us who are worried about paying their rent and other bills as their financial circumstances have quickly changed. To reassure tenants we have also put a focus on Dan, who manages the Money Support Team, offering support and advice to anyone who might be struggling.
By putting a spotlight on members of our teams, we can reassure tenants that Cartrefi Conwy are still here to support and provide a listening ear. It also reminds tenants that we are all ‘human’.
We have had a very positive response from tenants, and there’s been an increase in people using our digital platforms rather than calling in. Tenants appreciate that we have had to adapt as an organisation, and that we are doing all that we can to maintain a high level of support and open communication, even if we are unable to visit tenants directly in some cases.”