Update on housing services during the tighter restrictions

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Dear resident,

Following the recent tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in England here are some key updates about our housing and other services and a reminder of upcoming opportunities to get involved.

Remember, if you have coronavirus symptoms you must self-isolate and get a free test. There are two testing sites locally in Southwark and it’s easy to book a free test.Thank to everyone who is looking out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours during these difficult times. If you know a vulnerable resident who needs help, please tell us so we can support them.

We’re currently only doing essential repairs
To reduce the risk to residents and staff of home visits, we will only be carrying out essential repairs inside people’s homes, focusing on ensuring homes are warm, dry and safe, and prioritising our vulnerable residents.

Resident services
We will continue to contact and support vulnerable residents in all tenures of council accommodation including our supported hostels and residents in temporary accommodation, sheltered and Extra Care housing. We will carry out estate inspections and fire risk assessments, and we will continue to carry out work on voids to support choice based lettings.Meetings with residents and routine home visits will be carried out virtually where possible.

Homelessness services
Our Housing Solutions service continues to provide advice and support to people who need urgent help because they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Please continue to pay your rent
Please continue to pay your rent if you can because it helps to fund vital council services at this difficult time. If you are struggling with rent payments there is help available.

We’re still building new homes
Construction is permitted to continue under the new restrictions so we will be continuing work as planned on delivering new council homes, while our contractors and construction workers are working in Covid-secure ways. Read more about the council’s new homes programme. 

Register your interest in a growing plot
Early in the new year we will launch a new Allotment Expansion Guarantee to create hundreds of new growing plots on council land. The council’s community gardening coordinators will work with residents to design, build and run their own community allotments. Sign up to receive an alert.

Other changes to council services
Southwark’s parks will remain open
All sports and leisure facilities, including football, tennis and basketball courts, grass and astro-turf pitches, outdoor gyms, cricket nets and fishing areas will be closed.
Schools remain open and children should attend as normal.
Leisure centres will close.
Libraries will close (but digital services and the home library will continue)
Playgrounds will stay open but families should maintain social distance and wash hands/use hand sanitiser before and after use.
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can only proceed in exceptional circumstances.
Funerals can still be held, with up to 30 people.

Join in your next local housing forum
The next round of housing forum meetings is taking place in December. Anyone who lives in a council home, including council-owned temporary accommodation can now book their space.

When are the meetings and what will be discussed?The next meetings will take place between 3 and 17 December and topics will include:Feedback on previous meetingHousing service updates for your area.Election of a resident to chair the meetingsElection of representatives to the new Tenants and Homeowners ForumDue to the current pandemic these meetings will be held virtually on Zoom. You can reserve your place on Zoom.>> Register to attend now. 

Which forum meeting you should attend
There are five different housing forums, each covering a different part of the borough. You can check which housing forum you should attend on our website.If you would like more information on these meetings, nominations or the elections (see below) please contact resident.participation@southwark.gov.uk

Nominate yourself to become your local housing forum chair
By having a resident chair this meeting we will ensure that the meetings cover relevant topics and are shaped by residents for residents. You would need to commit to attend four meetings a year. Experience in chairing meetings is not necessary as training and support will be given.>> Complete a self-nomination by 18 November

Nominate yourself to represent your housing forum in the tenants’ or homeowners’ forum.
Nominate yourself to represent your housing forum in the tenants’ or homeowners’ forum. You can now also nominate yourself to represent your local forum at the new tenants’ or homeowners’ forum. This might be for you, if you are able to commit to attend about nine evening meetings a year. You don’t need to have previous experience as we will offer free training and support to help you fulfil this role.  >> Complete a self-nomination by 18 November

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