COVID-19 updates, tackling the climate emergency and more

 

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

Another sunny weekend awaits but our message stays the same – please stay at home as much as possible to stop the virus spreading.

I want to thank everyone, including council staff and members of the public, who have been working so hard to keep our parks and open spaces clean and safe. We can all do our bit to help by using our parks responsibly. Please keep your distance from others, don’t have barbecues and take your rubbish home with you. Let’s work together to look after our parks, so we can all enjoy them.

It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since the dreadful terror attacks in London Bridge and Borough in which eight people were murdered and dozens more injured. On 3rd June we will remember those lives lost, and all those harmed on that terrible night, with a service hosted by Southwark Cathedral. Given the current lockdown restrictions the memorial service will be held virtually on Southwark Cathedral’s website. Whether or not you are able to join the service, I know you will join me in remembering those lost on that sunny evening three years ago, and keep their friends and families firmly in your thoughts.

Best wishes,

Cllr Peter John


Letter to Residents from Minister of State for Housing

Dear TRA Chair,

Please see the below and attached  Covid-19 Letter to Social Housing Residents links to an important communication concerning Coronavirus from the Minister of State for Housing, the Right Honourable Christopher Pincher, MP:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/885686/Covid19_Letter_to_social_housing_residents.pdf

Kind regards,

George Changua

Tenant & Homeowner Support Officer

Southwark Council || Communities Division || Housing & Modernisation

160 Tooley Street || 5th Floor || Hub 3 || SE1 2QH

T: 0207 525 3326 || E: george.changua@southwark.gov.uk || Website: www.southwark.gov.uk

www.southwark.gov.uk/mysouthwark For council services at your fingertips, register online.

ASB and dealing at Boughton and Balin

Hello Balin Residents,

As you may have seen on twitter, or heard early this morning, a drugs warrant was carried out by the Neighbourhood Tasking Team in Boughton House, where they arrested a male for Possession with Intent to Supply.

Whilst we were outside the block between 8-10am this morning, a known drug users came by whistling up to Boughton House before seeing us. We informed him a dealer was arrested. So the news must of spread as we didn’t see anyone else arrived in the time.

We understand this has caused residents a lot of concern, upset, and harassment. We will continue with patrols over the next 2 days we are in, to be in the face of the dealer and the users.

The male will be released today under investigation. So don’t be surprised that you may see him about.

We are now speaking with the Council regarding actions they can take in regards to their tenant.

Regards

Sarah & Richard

Chaucer Safer Neighbourhood Team

PC Sarah LOCK, PC Nigel QUINN & PCSO Richard SMITH

Southwark Police Station, 323 Borough High Street, LONDON, SE1 1JL

Tel 0208 721 2441

E-Mail CHAUCER.SNT@MET.POLICE.UK

Ward Promises:

1) Balin House re: ASB Drug Use

2) Meakin Est re: ASB Rough Sleepers/Drug/Drinkers

3) Berwick Court re: Mail Thefts

Follow us on Twitter @MPSChaucer or on Nextdoor App

Also see our webpage on www.met.police.uk

IN AN EMERGENCY, ALWAYS CALL 999

Face masks and face coverings – IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Dear TRA Chair,

It has come to my attention that some TRAs have been considering applying for funding in order to purchase face masks and/or face covers, in order to take full – but safe – advantage of the recent (slight) relaxation in lockdown measures. Our colleagues in Public Health have issued the following message to us, which I am forwarding to you just in case your TRA is contemplating taking such a step:

  1.  Face masks should be used by front line health and care workers, or others carrying out essential works and coming within 2 metres of an individual, or who need to protect themselves from usual occupational hazards. The Government has urged the public not to buy medical-grade masks so as to ensure there is sufficient stock for these workers.
  1.  Face coverings can be made at home using a cloth, scarf, or bandana that ties behind the head. On Sunday, the Government suggested the public consider making their own face coverings to be worn in enclosed public spaces, e.g. on public transport or in shops, where social distancing cannot be maintained. The Government has advised that face coverings do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, or in workplaces such as offices and retail. They should also not be worn by anyone who may find them difficult to wear, e.g. small children and those who have problems breathing when wearing a face covering.
  1.  Importantly, face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing and they are really aimed at preventing the person wearing the covering from unknowingly passing on the virus, rather than protecting themselves from other people. To protect yourself, the advice remains to follow social distancing measures and isolation guidance, and to regularly wash hands. Any residents who are shielding are advised to continue to do so until at least the end of June

If you have any queries regarding this message, please contact the council’s Covid-19 response team at covidsupport@southwark.gov.uk or call 020 7525 5000, and ask for Public Health.

Kind regards,

 

John

John McCormack, BSc. (Hons.); MA; Cert. Ed.; PhD (London)

Tenant and Home Owner Involvement Team Leader| Communities Directorate | Housing and Modernisation Department

Southwark Council | 160 Tooley Street | London | SE1 2QH

Tel: 0207 525 7544

Mob.: 07908 795167

COVID19 (Coronavirus)

For the latest NHS guidance, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

To read the latest advice and information for Southwark residents, please visit www.southwark.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you have an enquiry about a vulnerable Southwark resident, please email covidsupport@southwark.gov.uk or call 020 7525 5000

Entertainment, education and exercise: Southwark Council’s stay-at-home library of activities

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

We know that staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives gets harder as time goes by, and that keeping yourself and your family entertained for such long periods is a new and often difficult challenge. To help in a small way, we’ve developed an online library of things to do at home to help you and your family keep active, creative and learning at home during the lockdown. There’s lots on offer from free film screenings to art workshops, dance classes and much more and we’ve included some further highlights below.

Sadly, we also know that not everyone who is staying at home feels safe. Remember, there is support for anyone who experiences abuse at home – you do not have to stay at home with an abuser.

I wish you all the very best and thank you again for playing your part in keeping Southwark safe.

Cllr Peter John


Donate to the community fundraiser

There’s still time to donate to the community fundraiser for local charities. United St Saviours are distributing much-needed funds to local charities who are playing a vital role in the local coronavirus response.


Are you worried about domestic abuse?

If you or someone you know is suffering from Domestic Abuse, isolation rules do not apply. Police response and support services remain available. Nationally, there is advice and support available but you should call 999 if you are in immediate danger. Locally, the Solace Advocacy and Support Service is also available to women and men in Southwark aged 16 or over in Southwark.


Do you know a vulnerable resident who needs help?

If you know of a vulnerable Southwark resident who can’t leave the house due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and who may not have friends, family or neighbours who can help with the delivery of essential supplies, please tell us straight away so we can help them.


London Tenants Federation Spring newsletter: Tenants’ organisations responding to Coronavirus and new survey deadlines

Welcome to our Spring Newsletter

We hope you and your family, friends and neighbours are safe and well.

These are very difficult and uncertain times. Social housing tenants are some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and its repercussions for our daily lives.

It has been heartwarming to see tenant representatives in London going above and beyond to help, whether in essential jobs or through local efforts to support vulnerable neighbours and keep spirits up.

We’ve written a blog about how one of our members, Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations (SGTO), has adapted to the new circumstances; keeping tenants involved in local democracy and linking Tenants and Residents Associations together with some of the many mutual aid groups that have sprung up to help neighbours during the pandemic. Read more here.

Of course, Coronavirus and the lockdown have made it harder for some tenant reps to help or take part as they might normally. We hope you are taking this time to be kind to yourselves. Your health and wellbeing are most important.

We’ve produced a list of links and information about Coronavirus, some essential and some more fun. Please feel free to share this with your neighbours and suggest additions.

LTF’s response to Coronavirus

Alongside other renters’ groups, our call for an eviction ban was picked up by the Mayor of London and within the week an eviction ban was announced by the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the government’s support for those in housing need still leaves many people vulnerable.

On 19th March we made this statement calling on the government to provide better support: to homeless households; to tenants, leaseholders and shared owners who may struggle to meet housing costs; and to households who are overcrowded or in unsuitable accommodation.

We also worked with fellow members of the London Housing Panel to put out this statement calling for greater support to those in housing need.

We’d love to hear from you

How has your tenants’ group or organisation been affected by COVID-19?

Email info@londontenants.org

Extended survey deadlines

LTF Survey: What are your priorities as a tenants’ organisation?

New deadline 11th May 2020

Please take a moment to complete this survey to help us develop upcoming events and resources for TRAs, TMOs and Co-ops across London. Click here to take the survey.

The government’s First Homes consultation closes on 1 May

There is no evidence of need for yet another form of subsidised low cost home ownership in London. The evidence, by far, is that social rented homes are what is needed. We’ve shared LTF’s response to the consultation. Please feel free to use and adapt it.

New deadline 11.45pm on 1 May 2020

Responses can be sent to FirstHomes@communities.gov.uk

Working from home during the lockdown? 

We’ve been contacted by Dr Frances Holliss at Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design. She is examining the impact of compulsory home-based work as a result of COVID-19 on people with a range of living situations. She is interested in how those with less space and no garden, perhaps those affected by the Bedroom Tax, are managing during the lockdown. Email f.holliss@londonmet.ac.uk with a photo or description.

Other news

The UK Housing Review was published this month, and it shatters the myth that social housing is the most subsidised tenure in England.

Measures to stimulate homeownership and the private market in England amount to £53bn. That is 75% of the government’s planned housing investment for 2019/20 to 2023/24.. Only 25% was set aside for affordable homes (social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership). Note: these figures pre-date the recent Budget.

In contrast, government support for affordable homes in Wales is 74% of total investment, in Scotland 84% and in Northern Ireland 100%.

Other statistics that stood out were:

  • There were more than 170,000 families and individuals across Great Britain experiencing ‘core homelessness’ on a typical night in 2017. Core homelessness includes: rough sleeping, sleeping in cars, etc; squatting, in hostels, refuges and shelters; in unsuitable temporary accommodation (e.g. B&B), and ‘sofa-surfing’
  • Rates of core homelessness were almost identical in Scotland and England in 2010 but have since diverged markedly – steadily worsening in the latter
  • Grant for new build affordable housing has increased in England, but only from 7% of development costs in 2017 to 11% in 2019.
  • Over the seven years April 2012-19, the net loss of social rented stock in England reached 181,000 homes, despite the building of over 60,000 new social rented homes over the same period. Conversion to Affordable Rent and the Right to Buy were the biggest reasons, but in London estate demolition has played a big role.

Trust for London’s Poverty Profile: 2020 was published this week. Among the key findings were:

  • After housing costs, 28% of Londoners are living in poverty
  • 76% of children in poverty in London are in working families – an increase of 8%, or 80,000 children, from five years ago.

It is troubling to think this was the picture before COVID-19 hit. In a statement on Twitter, they said “Let’s use this as a baseline to measure the impact of #COVID19 on poverty in our city & work together to create a fairer London.”

What’s been said on Twitter

Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth @HousingActionSL  shared testimony from members of overcrowded families dealing with lockdown.

Inside Housing @InsideHousing reported that Newham Council moved hundreds of homeless families out of shared accommodation amid the coronavirus crisis. This came not long after we highlighted the 300+ empty homes on the Carpenter’s Estate.

Pete Apps at Inside Housing @PeteApps reported that “for a couple of years now, the government has been refusing to test a commonly used cladding system (HPL + phenolic insulation). The test was just done privately and it failed in under nine minutes”

Trust for London @trustforlondon shared this article by Lynsey Hanley: Lockdown has laid bare Britain’s class divide

Somerton House Residents’ Association @SomertonHouseRA shared some beautiful photos of the flowers in their entrance green: jasmine, tulips and daffodils.

D’Eynsford TMO in Camberwell @Deynsford were among many tenant-run organisations across London to share photos of some of the good work being done to help neighbours during the pandemic.

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COVID-19: please support our local charities

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

I want to thank everyone in Southwark who is doing so much to help slow the spread of COVID-19. During these extremely difficult times the response of the Southwark community has been extraordinary.

We’ve been in lockdown since 24 March and yesterday the government announced that the end is not yet in sight and lockdown will continue for at least three more weeks. Whilst this doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given the tragic news we are hearing about hundreds of deaths each day, I know how difficult this is for everyone. We are all feeling the impact of spending most of our time at home, but there are signs that lockdown is working by slowing the spread of the disease and so it’s really important that we all keep following the rules by staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.

Sadly, not everyone is safe in their own home, and it’s really important we make sure that anyone who experiences abuse at home knows there is support available, and that they do not have to stay at home with an abuser. There is information below for anyone experiencing, or concerned about, domestic abuse.

Supporting our local charities

I want to pay tribute to the many fantastic local charities in Southwark who are doing so much to support the local response in Southwark. Their work – in extremely challenging circumstances – to support vulnerable residents in our borough, has been absolutely vital in the borough-wide response.

We are working with United St Saviours to raise additional funds for local charities to help them to continue to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. This will, alongside the additional community grants that the council is offering, help to fund the extra work our wonderful charities are doing to support our communities.

If you’re able to, please donate to the Crowdfunder now.

In this newsletter you will find information about council services and support available to residents and businesses. This includes our latest announcement of a £2-million hardship fund for businesses. You can also check our website for regular updates.

Than you for your ongoing support,

Cllr Peter John


Do you know a vulnerable resident who needs help?

If you know of a vulnerable Southwark resident who can’t leave the house due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and who may not have friends, family or neighbours who can help with the delivery of essential supplies, please tell us straight away so we can help them.


Are you worried about domestic abuse?

If you or someone you know is suffering from Domestic Abuse, isolation rules do not apply. Police response and support services remain available. Nationally, there is advice and support available but you should call 999 if you are in immediate danger. Locally, the Solace Advocacy and Support Service is also available to women and men in Southwark aged 16 or over in Southwark.