We are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and how it could affect our customers and workforce, and taking steps to prioritise the safety and well-being of our residents, service users, and staff in the delivery of our core services.
Please be reassured that our teams will be following the latest advice from government and Public Health England if they need to visit you in your home.
For more details, please go to the government website.
If you are feeling unwell, please use the NHS 111 coronavirus website for what to do rather than using the telephone number.
We understand that this is a worrying time, but please be assured that we will follow the latest guidance and continue to provide you with regular updates and support you in the best way we can.
If you have any concerns, please email CoronaVirusInfo@emhgroup.org.uk
Government update (Tuesday 2 June at 16:00)
The government has issued further non-statutory guidance for landlords and tenants in the private and social rented sectors on, among other subjects, Health & Safety obligations, repairs, and inspections in the context of Covid-19.
You can read the guidance here.
Government letter (Monday 1 June at 16:00)
On 18 May the government published an open letter on its website to all social housing residents, setting out the level of service it expected your landlord to be delivering during the coronavirus crisis. We covered most of the points raised by the government in our April coronavirus update newsletter, and over the last few weeks we have been making plans for when lockdown restrictions were eased to restart more of our services.
Our current position covers the remaining points raised by the government:
We are currently putting measures and plans in place to recommence our regular maintenance work safely. This should enable us to undertake substantial planned maintenance work towards the end of June.
We will also be able to undertake routine repairs at that point. However, as there is a backlog we will be looking to clear this as quickly as possible in the first instance, and will get in touch with residents to schedule these appointments.
Our priorities for urgent repairs and gas safety checks remain unaffected. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and patience during this difficult time.
We are not currently taking any new appointments for non-urgent repairs.
What will happen when we visit
We will call ahead to check if you or a member of your household has any suspected or confirmed Covid-19 symptoms and will re-arrange your appointment if needed.
We will observe social distancing (keeping at least 2 metres away) and request that you and members of your household do the same, and preferably keeping the area clear for the work to take place, including keeping doors open to avoid contact.
Please also keep pets away.
We will wear appropriate PPE and maintain sanitised practices.
To keep you and your household safe it is important that we continue to carry out our gas safety works and checks.
We urge you to allow us access to enable this to happen and we will observe the practices outlined above.
If you are concerned about this, please call 0300 123 3645.
Changes to seeking possession
The government has strongly advised all housing providers that they should only serve notice of seeking possession on tenants with rent arrears if they have good reason to do so. We have not issued any new notices of seeking possession since the lockdown commenced. If you receive a notice of seeking possession in the coming weeks, we will have carefully considered this prior to sending it to you. Letters about your rent will have been sent to you and we will have also attempted to contact you over the phone. A notice of seeking possession is the first stage in the legal process to encourage you to pay your rent and arrears. Any notice served will give you three months to clear the arrears or reduce the debt by making an affordable repayment arrangement with us. After three months we could take you to court as ask the judge for possession of your home. However, we would urge you to contact us if you have any concerns about paying your rent. Our Financial Inclusion team is here to support you.
You can read the government letter here.
Recycling and waste sites to reopen (Monday 18 May at 8:00)
Some County Council recycling and waste sites will be reopening today.
Not all sites in each county will be reopening, and restrictions will apply. You may have to book an appointment online beforehand. Social distancing rules have been put in place, so expect long delays.
Age UK Coronavirus Helpline (Monday 11 May at 15:00)
Age UK Leicestershire & Rutland has launched a Coronavirus Helpline to support older people with any concerns relating to the current crisis.
T: 0116 299 2239
For all vulnerable older people having to self-isolate throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, Age UK is able to offer two free food parcels (usually delivered within 24 hours), two food shopping visits (the trips are free but the food is paid for by the service user), prescription collection, and telephone befriending.
Open Monday to Friday from 9am - 5pm and on weekends from 10am - 4pm.
It also has an existing Information and Advice line for dealing with other issues that people over the age of 50 may be concerned about.
T: 0116 299 2278
Open Monday to Friday from 9am - 1pm.
More details on their website: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/leics/
Stay alert > Control the virus > Save lives (Monday 11 May at 10:00)
Our priority is keeping staff and residents safe. Following the announcement from the Prime Minister yesterday, we will not be making any immediate changes to how we are currently delivering our services.
Allocations and lettings (Thursday 30 April at 9:00)
We are following official government guidelines and have put on hold any non-essential lettings.
We will continue to work with our local partners to assist in rehousing the homeless, victims of domestic violence, those leaving hospital to free up beds, and those in temporary accommodation.
Applicants not in any of these groups need to follow government advice to stay at home and away from others.
If you have a housing application currently with us and need to talk to us about your situation, please contact the Allocations team on 0300 123 6000.
Update: Non-urgent repairs (Monday 27 April at 10:00)
Due to government restrictions we are currently only carrying out emergency repairs. All tenants who had a non-urgent repair scheduled before lockdown have been contacted and informed that all such work has been put on hold.
Once the restrictions have been lifted we will be back in touch with the customers to reschedule their appointments. We will prioritise the repairs that have had to be cancelled.
Update: Special newsletter being sent to every resident (Thursday 23 April at 11:00)
To keep all our residents informed of changes to our services during these difficult times, we have produced a special newsletter which is being sent to every resident. This is expected to be delivered by Friday 1 May.
Included in the newsletter will be an easy read guide to the new rules about staying at home and away from others.
You can download the publications here:
Support: New government benefits advice website (Monday 20 April at 10:00)
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a new employment and benefits support website covering all the changes the DWP is making to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
The site will be regularly updated and includes the latest guidance on Universal Credit, sick pay, existing benefit claims, new claims for benefit, self-employment, housing, and frequently asked question.
You can find the website here.
Support: Derbyshire telephone befriending service (Sunday 19 April at 11:00)
Our partner and fire safety advisor Derbyshire Fire & Rescue has launched a telephone befriending service.
Derbyshire Fire & Rescue is doing all it can to help those in need during the lockdown, and is offering to call people who may be feeling lonely and missing friends and family for a chat.
If you or someone you know in the area would like a regular call from them to have friendly chat and just keep in touch, give them a call and let them know. They will ask for your name and a number and one of their volunteers will call you at least once a week.
If you live in Derby, South Derbyshire, Erewash or Amber Valley please call 01332 777850.
If you live in Chesterfield, Bolsover District, North East Derbyshire or High Peak please call 01298 608720.
If you are making a referral on behalf of someone else, please ask for their consent beforehand. You can send their details via TBS@derbys-fire.gov.uk
Update: Local volunteer support groups (Tuesday 14 April at 15:00)
If you are without family or friends to help with food shopping or collecting prescriptions, there are many volunteer support groups across the region that can help you.
If you know of someone in your community who may be struggling, why not find the contact number for their local support group and pass it on?
Leicester + Leicestershire + Rutland: ONE Prepared brings together all the official help and advice organisations in the area.
Update: Grass cutting & Grounds maintenance (Tuesday 14 April at 8:00)
After establishing safe systems of working in line with government guidelines, our grounds maintenance operatives have started working again.
While the operatives are following these new procedures, we ask that all residents politely help them carry on with their work by adhering to the government guidelines on social distancing.
The team will be wearing extra PPE (e.g. masks and gloves) for their protection as well as your protection.
Please respect any safety barriers or cones the team may have put in place and do not cross these boundaries. Do not approach any of the team or any of their machinery and vehicles. If you feel that this is unavoidable and you need to speak to them about something important, please follow the two metre rule. Do not offer the team any refreshments.
Only be outside on schemes if absolutely necessary while we are working in your area. If you usually have to give access to the team, please do so as usual but make sure you observe the two metre safe distancing rule at all times.
We will be deploying additional resources to ensure that all scheduled grass cutting that has been delayed will be carried out as soon as possible. It is our intention that the service provided to customers will be delivered in accordance with the specification as far as is possible given the current exceptional circumstances and so refunds of service charges will not be applicable at the present time.
Thank you for your cooperation and patience during this very difficult time.
Working together with respect (Wednesday 8 April at 10:00)
We are committed to providing all our residents with a safe and respectful service in line with our values. We also appreciate the patience and support shown for our staff while delivering essential services to keep you safe and secure in these difficult times. If you see a member of staff, please keep two metres away from them as they carry out their work so that we can all do our best to stay safe.
Helping your children understand coronavirus (Wednesday 8 April at 9:00)
If you are finding it difficult to explain coronavirus to your children, Nosy Crow has just launched a brilliant book full of useful information that can help you. The book is written in simple language appropriate for primary school aged children, and includes drawings by the Gruffalo illustrator. It can be downloaded for FREE from the Nosy Crow website.
Advice: Domestic abuse (Tuesday 7 April at 11:00)
For anyone who is experiencing or feels at risk of domestic abuse during this time, it is important to remember that there is help and support available.
The government has issued new advice and guidance on its website.
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline website provides guidance and support for potential victims, as well as those who are worried about friends and loved ones. They can also be called for free and in confidence 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. The website also has a form through which you can book a safe time for the team to call you.
If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.
If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999, then - when prompted - press 55 and remain silent. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force which will assist you without you having to speak.
You can find more information about domestic abuse and the support and guidance we can offer on our dedicated page.
Warning: Loan sharks (Thursday 2 April at 15:00)
The England Illegal Money Lending Team has issued a warning that loan sharks are taking advantage of people suffering financial difficulties during the coronavirus crisis.
Loan sharks are unregulated, often give cash loans without paperwork, and charge extortionate interest rates. They can also often take benefit or bank cards as security, and use threatening behaviour or even violence to get money.
We are here to support you if you are facing financial hardship due to coronavirus, and where appropriate we will agree temporary adjustments to rent payments.
Our specialist Financial Inclusion officers can help residents who are struggling to manage their money. If you would like to speak to one of them, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0300 123 6000. Please be aware that due to staff working remotely, customers may be contacted by mobile phone.
Anyone wanting to report a loan shark can call the Stop Loan Sharks 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 555 2222, text a report to 07860 022116, or complete an online report. You can also use the contact form to request a call-back at a time that is safe for you.
You can find more details and information on the Stop Loan Sharks website.
Update: Sharpes grounds maintenance service (Wednesday 1 April at 10:00)
In line with current government guidance on social distancing we have decided to stop any scheduled grass cutting or general grounds maintenance until ways of working can be established to ensure that we keep staff and tenants safe. During this time our reactive service will only be able to deal with emergencies, but please be aware that this will be a limited service so that government guidelines are met.
Once we are able to resume our services, we will be deploying additional resources and will ensure that all scheduled grass cutting that has been delayed will be carried out as soon as possible. It is the intention that the service provided to customers will be delivered in accordance with the specification as far as is possible given the current exceptional circumstances and so refunds of service charges will not be applicable at the present time.
We thank you for your support and co-operation during this difficult period.
Your latest FAQs (Friday 27 March at 16:00)
Q. I have an emergency repair that needs doing and I am worried that when you come to do the repair you will bring the coronavirus into my home. What are your staff doing to make sure this does not happen?
A. To keep our tenants and staff safe, we have created new risk assessments, safe systems of working, and training material that have been issued to all our operatives. In the current environment we are only responding to emergencies and the most urgent of calls using a small team of specially trained tradespersons who are all equipped with the right personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitising materials. To protect our staff and limited supplies we ask that tenants only report the most urgent of repairs.
Q. My neighbours seem to be having lots of visitors in and out of their home, and some have even been holding barbeques. What are emh homes doing about tenants that are not following the government rules?
A. We do not have the same powers as the police. If you are concerned that your neighbours are not following the guidelines on social distancing issued by the government, we suggest that you contact your local police force via their website. Please only use 999 for emergencies and 101 for urgent enquiries.
Coronavirus scams (Thursday 26 March at 12:00)
During this period of uncertainty regarding the coronavirus, it appears that there are some people who are taking advantage of the situation and targeting the most vulnerable.
Leicestershire Trading Standards has been alerted to reports that people are offering to buy essentials on behalf of the elderly and vulnerable who are self isolating, and then taking money and not bringing any goods back to them.
We do not want to discourage anyone from helping their neighbours or family members in this time of need, and we do not want to breed distrust in those genuine members of the community trying to assist others. We simply ask that you remain cautious and take note of this basic advice should someone call on your door:
- try to only deal with people you are familiar with
- if the person says they are from a community group/organisation, ask to see some ID or verify their identity by calling the organisation directly
- only buy the essentials in this manner, keeping the amount of money to a minimum
- do not hand over a bank card - use cash only
We have also been advised that scammers are offering door to door coronavirus testing on behalf of the NHS or your GP. Please be warned these are not legitimate. If anyone knocks on your door claiming to be conducting the tests, please call the police.
Even if you do not live in Leicestershire it is likely that there will be people carrying out these scams in other parts of the country.
Please stay vigilant.
Tenancy Services Update (Wednesday 25 March at 14:00)
We want to do all we can to support the latest strict measures announced by the Government to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. Our teams are currently working remotely, and we regret that we are only able to offer a limited service.
The changes to our service are as follows:
- We cannot accept any new mutual exchange applications as we are only offering emergency repairs and visits
- Welcome visits for new residents will be carried out by phone
- We will not be carrying out any estate inspections and encourage you to contact us to report any hazards
- Customer queries around tenancy and housing matters will be dealt with by phone
- For sheltered residents wellbeing checks will be carried out by phone
- Anti-social behaviour investigations will be carried out over the phone
Reports about anti-social behaviour can be made via our email@example.com email address. This is monitored regularly throughout the day and we will respond to you as soon as we can.
We will keep you updated as things change. You can message us via myhomeonline or in an emergency call our Customer Services Team on 0300 123 6000.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding.
Urgent: Repairs Service Update (Tuesday 24 March at 15:00)
We want to do all we can to support the latest strict measures announced by the Government to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. We will therefore only be carrying out emergency repairs and essential works, such as gas servicing, until such time as Government restrictions change. We will continue to keep you updated of further changes as they arise, and would like to thank you for your support during this difficult time.
You can report emergency repairs by calling our Customer Services Team on 0300 123 6000.
FAQs (Monday 23 March at 11:00)
Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about how we are maintaining our services and helping keep you safe, reassured and informed at this time.
Q. I can’t work because of the coronavirus and I am struggling to pay my rent. What can I do?
A. We will work with customers who are facing financial hardship due to coronavirus. Support is available and where appropriate we will agree temporary adjustments to rent payments. We have specialist Financial Inclusion officers who help residents who are struggling to manage their money. If you would like to speak to one of them please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0300 123 6000, leaving your name, contact number, tenancy number and/or address along with brief details and we will respond accordingly.
Please be aware that due to staff working remotely, customers may be contacted by mobile phone.
We welcome the fact that the government has extended Statutory Sick Pay to people affected by coronavirus. However, if you are not eligible, we urge you to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance. We can help you do that if you need us to.
We also work closely with Citizens Advice, who offer help and support for our residents in financial difficulty. If you need their help with your finances, please contact them directly.
Q. If you cancel my appointment because I am unwell or self-isolating, when will my new one be?
A. We are doing all we can to keep our residents safe and our services up and running. We will be ringing ahead before we attend to complete a repair. If you are unwell or self-isolating and your repair is urgent we will re-book it for you and will attend after your self-isolation period is over. If we have to cancel a routine appointment because you are unwell or self-isolating, we will ask you to get back in touch when you are feeling better to arrange a new appointment.
Q. Even though I am self-isolating, my repair is urgent. When will it be done?
A. If you are ill but your repair is an emergency, such as a major leak or boiler failure, we will put special measures in place to get your repair done. Where possible, our maintenance team will wear special protective clothing to be able to carry out the work urgently. If for any reason this is not possible, we will talk to you about whether there is another way we might be able to gain access and sort the issue.
If more of our staff have to take time off work, we will make changes so we can focus on emergency repairs.
Q. I am due to collect the keys for my new home. Can I still do this?
A. Yes, but we will ask you to call us on the day to confirm that you are feeling well. We will ask you a set of questions including if you are self-isolating.
If you are unwell, we will ask you to get back in touch with us when you are feeling better so that we can arrange a new appointment with you.
Q. Can I still visit my relatives and friends in emh homes’ schemes?
A. No, everyone should follow the government advice and stay at home.
Q. Will the offices close?
A. Our offices will be closed to the public until further notice:
- 1 Barton Close, Grove Park, Enderby
- Service & Information Centre, Bath Street, Ilkeston
- Longfield House, Hallam Fields Road, Ilkeston
- Jubilee House, Stenson Road, Coalville
- Memorial House, Stenson Road, Coalville
We will still be contactable via our website and myhomeonline, or you can message us through our Facebook page or call us on 0300 123 6000.
We anticipate that during this time our phones will be busier than usual and advise you to call only if your query is urgent.