LOCHABER HOUSING ASSOCIATION’S
RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID19) PANDEMIC

The LHA Group continues to monitor the current and ongoing situation with COVID 19. Given the uncertainty around the rapid spread of Covid-19 and the unchartered territory we find ourselves in, we want to let you know the steps we are taking to continue to support you during this difficult time.

Our focus is on the safety and well-being of our tenants and sharing owners, as well as our employees and their families, while continuing to provide as much of our normal service as is possible. The emergency presented by the virus is giving rise to fast moving development and change so, over the coming days and weeks, it’s likely that we will all have to  adjust to react to the directives given to us by the UK and Scottish Governments. As the situation changes, we will keep you informed about how these will affect you and to tell you about their impact on LHA’s services.  We will do this through our website www.lochaberhousing.org.uk or by a leaflet such as this.

For your part, please let us know if any of your household are self-isolating or have symptoms of COVID-19 so that we can decide on the best course of action in dealing with any service request.

As at week beginning 23rd March, we have initiated the following changes to or normal service, which shall remain in place until further notice:Our office at 101 High Street, Fort William is closed to the public. However, we are available by telephone on 01397 702530 from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm. We are unable to take cash payments, so please visit our website www.lochaberhousing.org.uk or call us to make alternative arrangements to pay your rent, recharge, or factoring invoice.

To contact a member of our housing management team please either email
housingmgt@lochaberhousing.org.uk
Or telephone
Melody Robinson  – Housing Officer – 07464 829 028
David MacLaren – Housing Officer  – 07717 684 004
Joanne Bilton    – Housing Sustainment  – 07717 684002
Brian Pearson – Housing services Co-ordinator – 07388 990 180

Where possible we are undertaking emergency repairs only to your home, for which you should call 01397 702530. However, all non-emergency repairs reported will be recorded and we hope to be able to schedule these as the situation improves.  We appreciate your patience, but we’re sure you’ll understand that we can’t give any timescales as to when these non-emergency repairs will be scheduled, at this time.

You will continue to be able to access our
out of hours emergency repairs service by dialling 01349 886691.

Please do not use kitchen roll as toilet roll as this could block your toilet.

There are health and safety compliance tasks that we are legally obliged to undertake on a periodic basis, such as the servicing of communal emergency lighting systems and, for a few properties, gas servicing. These checks are needed so that you continue to be safe in your home. When the time comes for us to do these tasks, we will contact you to give you advance notice. The work will, of course, be risk assessed and appropriate measures put in place, including social isolating arrangement and signage.

Even during these uncertain times your monthly rent will continue to be payable. However, given the current situation, we are aware that you may need to work on a reduced or no income at all over the coming weeks and months and that this may have an effect on your ability to continue to pay rent.  If you will be affected in this way, please contact us as soon as possible (01397 702530) to make us aware of your circumstances and to allow us to assist. We strongly recommend that, in these circumstances, where appropriate, you seek the appropriate advice for any benefits or sick pay you can receive.  Where appropriate, you should apply for Universal Credit at the earliest opportunity.  You can access guidance about Universal Credit via the following link:

https://www.highland.gov.uk/directory_record/20776/universal_credit or phone 0800 328 5644

In addition, the UK government has just announced a coronavirus jobs retention scheme to protect up to 80% of the wages of employees who have been facing the prospect of being laid off or having to work reduced hours. You should speak to your employer about this scheme and you can find more information at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

You can get free income related financial advice and support from the following agencies:

Shelter Scotland   https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/  or phone 0808 800 4444

Citizens Advice Scotland   https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland or phone  01397 705311

The Money Advice Service   https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en
or phone 0800 138 7777

Scotland’s Financial Health Service   https://www.scotlandsfinancialhealthservice.gov.uk
or phone 01349 886606

StepChange   https://www.stepchange.org/
or phone 0800 2138 1111

Lochaber Foodbank https://lochaber.foodbank.org.uk/
or phone 01397 700212/07421 087463

The Highland Council (Council Tax and Housing Benefit)  https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/701/council_tax/412/housing_benefit_and_council_tax_reduction or phone 0800 090 1004

For more advice regarding the coronavirus https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/  or phone 111

The Board and staff at the LHA Group are striving to maintain a service, all be it reduced for our tenants and we thank you for your understanding in what is a difficult and unprecedented time.