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    Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 4 January we set out here what you can expect from us over the coming weeks while we are in lockdown.

    Our priority remains to ensure your safety and that of our staff and contractors. The changes we already have in place mean we are confident we can safely continue to work and deliver most of our services. With these new tighter restrictions we have taken the decision to reduce the numbers of homes we visit each day to help limit contact. We will be prioritising emergency and urgent repairs and our building safety checks during the lockdown. This will mean a longer wait for routine repairs to be booked in.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.

    Repairs

    We will prioritise emergency and urgent repairs. We must also continue to carry out gas and electrical safety checks. We are legally responsible for ensuring that your home is safe and we are required to do these every year by law.

    We are confident that our staff are working safely. Please have a look at our video that sets out what we are doing and what we ask of residents to keep everyone safe.

    If you need to shield or have concerns about us being in your home please let us know so that we can provide reassurance or reschedule your appointment if necessary.

    If you are self-isolating, have tested positive for Covid-19 or are awaiting the results of a test, please let us know as soon as you can, either when you report your emergency or prior to our visit.

    This is our busiest time of year for emergency and urgent repairs - largely linked to the colder weather. This together with reducing the number of homes our staff visit each day will mean that we will not be able to carry out routine repairs as quickly as we would normally. If we have the capacity to undertake routine repairs, we will telephone you in advance and attend if it is safe and convenient for us to do so. This may mean that we contact you with little notice.

    Rent payments

    If you're experiencing financial difficulty due to coronavirus and worried about paying your rent, please talk to us. No one will lose their home because of Covid-19.

    We want to work with residents who are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak to support them through this difficult time.

    Over the next few months, our priorities will be to:

    • Offer support and guidance about what benefits you may be entitled to, and how to claim
    • Listen to what you can pay, and make appropriate payment plans with you
    • Offer budgeting advice and access to income and expenditure reviews
    • Agree for the housing cost part of your universal credit to be paid directly to us (if you receive this)
    • Support you if you're looking for work by helping you with your job search, including getting ready for applications and interviews
    • Signpost you to our partner organisations for further specialist advice on training and employment.

    We can also complete referrals to local food banks if you're struggling. Please contact our customer services team if you need help with this.

    Rent will still be charged, but we want to help you to manage your rent and other bills.

    You should continue to pay as normal if you:

    • Receive Universal Credit or Housing Benefit
    • Live in an Extra Care or Kent Excellent Homes for All scheme
    • Pay by direct debit (the rent-free weeks are calculated as part of your monthly payment).

    We can also offer support to help you find a job if you have lost yours – our training and employment pages have details of what we offer and how to contact us.

    Moving house

    We will continue to let our homes, sign ups will be done virtually. Mutual Exchanges will also still take place but may take a little longer as we may need to prioritise other work.

    Over 55 schemes

    The communal rooms, gyms and hairdressers in our older persons’ schemes will remain closed.

    The restaurants will continue to provide a delivery or takeaway service only.

    Abacus Furniture Projects

    Our Abacus stores will need to close but customers are able to click and collect. We will post new items on our Facebook page.

    West Kent Together

    West Kent Together will continue. We can link residents to internal and external support services; whether it’s needing food or medication delivered, employment support, money advice, or just someone to talk to.

    Working from home

    Our staff will continue to work from home and our offices remain closed. Please contact us by:

    • Email: help@wkha.org.uk
    • Web chat: www.westkent.org
    • Phone: 01732 749400

    To stay up to date with the changes please visit westkent.org/coronavirus

    If there is any other information that you need please do get in touch. Please forward this email on to anyone that you think would find this information useful.

    Contacting us

    If there is any other information that you need please do get in touch.

    You can keep in touch with us by joining our closed Facebook group, just for West Kent tenants.

    Social Housing Regulator success!

    The Regulator of Social Housing has once again awarded us their highest rating, G1 and V1.

     

    Lakeside living in Faversham

    We’re thrilled to share that we will build 99 (30 shared ownership and 69 affordable and social rent) homes in Faversham.