Coronavirus

For the latest update on our response to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

We're here to help.

We are following Public Health England guidelines in relation to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our staff and residents and we are committed to maintaining and protecting our services as far as possible.

We understand the worry and concern that coronavirus is causing. On these pages you will find practical information about the help available, the support you can access and our current services. 

We ask that you check these pages on our website before contacting us: this will help you find your answer more quickly and let us better support those most in need.

We are updating these pages regularly to reflect the developing situation and support available.

For the most up-to-date information on our response to the coronavirus, please click here.

More information on how to contact us can be found here.

Our services

We are working to deliver our services in as close a way to normal as possible and prioritising our older and vulnerable residents.

We are following all Public Health England guidelines. The situation is chanding rapidly and we are reviewing our activities and response daily.  We have invoked our business continuity plan and are looking at different scenarios for delivering landlord services if the public health guidelines change or if more of our staff are unavailable to work.

We are now offering emergency repairs only. 

We have taken this decision to help protect our residents and repairs operatives in response to government guidelines on social distancing, and to make best use of our resources and capacity.

We are also experiencing some disruption to our supply chain - we want to preserve the repair materials and stock that we hold for emergency repairs. 

The Green Man has been closed to the public and all of our resident events – including our drop-in sessions – have been postponed. We have closed all of our play areas and outdoor gym spaces until further notice. The majority of our staff are working from home where possible, and remain available by telephone and email. 

Support for older and vulnerable residents

This is a worrying time for many of us. We’re here to help.

We’re calling all residents aged over 65 or over and those people that we know are vulnerable. We’ll be asking you some questions that will help us update our records and understand the support that you have around you.

We are referring residents who require additional support, for example assistance with food shopping, food parcels or a befriending phone service to Lewisham Local. Lewisham Local is coordinating a community response to the coronavirus outbreak, working with local charities, partners and Lewisham Council. We are supporting Lewisham Local with their work. 

Please contact us if you consider yourself to be vulnerable but haven't heard from us, or if you know a resident who is in need of additional support so we can get in touch. 

Foodbank vouchers, claiming welfare benefits, and other support available

Foodbank vouchers

If you currently use Phoenix to issue foodbank vouchers, you can still do this. There is no need to visit us in person to collect the vouchers. Simply call or email us to tell us you need a voucher and give: 

  • your name 
  • address
  • number of adults and children in the household.

We will then tell the foodbank you are coming.  

If you think you might need to use a foodbank during this time, please contact us or one of our local foodbanks.

Support to access welfare and benefits

If your income has changed because of the current situation and/or you need help to claim welfare benefits, please contact us.

Our team is working remotely to continue supporting residents as normal with questions about welfare benefits. While our drop-in sessions at The Green Man and Bromley Jobcentre Plus have been postponed, we can continue to offer you support on the phone and by email. 

We can offer you advice and support in changing your existing benefits and in making a new claim. It's important you speak to us as soon as your circumstances change so we can advise you on the best thing to do and to make sure you claim as quickly as possible.

The government has announced a range of emergency measures and support. We're here to help and our team are very experienced in helping you claim the additional income you are entitled to. For further information about the new measures, we recommend you visit Policy in Practice and the Money Advice Service who have published comprehensive guides on what support is available.

Paying your bills

Please continue to pay your bills as normal during this period.

Paying your rent and service charges

If you're experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus and you're worried about how you'll pay your rent or service charges, please let us know as soon as possible. We can help you and support you to apply for additional support from the government or agree a payment plan.

We have suspended all eviction proceedings. No one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We want to help our residents at this difficult time. We ask that if your circumstances change, you let us know as soon as possible so we can work with you to find a solution.

Claiming Universal Credit may help you with your housing costs. Find out more about claiming Universal Credit on gov.uk.

Support with other costs 

You may be able to apply for support with your housing costs or with a reduction in your council tax. Visit Lewisham Council’s website for more information.

Paying for your water 

From 1 April 2020 all Phoenix tenants will pay Thames Water directly for their water, instead of through your rent.

If you are struggling to pay your water bills, please contact Thames Water in the first instance. They will be able to advise you on what discounts may be available and what support is on offer during the coronavirus crisis. You can also contact us for advice.

Paying for your energy (electricity and gas bills)

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, you should contact your energy provider as soon as possible. If you pay your energy bills by pre-payment and are self-isolating or unable to leave your home to top-up, contact your energy provider as soon as possible. 

Money Saving Expert has advice and the most up-to-date information from a number of energy providers to help you understand what help is available to you.

Repairs

Our Phoenix Repairs Service is working hard to maintain services for our residents and we are taking all possible steps to help protect the health of our residents and staff.

We have made changes to our repairs service to help us to continue to deliver a good service to residents in these unprecedented times.

Currently:

  • We are offering emergency repairs only. We have taken this decision to help protect our residents and repairs operatives in response to government guidelines on social distancing, and to make best use of our resources and capacity. 
  • For your safety we are continuing to carry out gas servicing, and it is essential that you allow our staff into your home to complete this.
  • Calls to our repairs contact centre are being answered by an external call centre. They will take your details and pass on your requests to our teams, who will schedule the appointment if it is an emergency or priority repair.
  • We are not making appointments for any non-emergency works and may contact you to postpone a previously organised non-emergency repair. If your repair request isn’t urgent, please contact us to book an appointment once things have got back to normal.
  • In some circumstances our operatives will arrive at your home wearing full protection – this will include a face mask, suit and gloves. Please don’t be alarmed – this equipment is to help protect our staff and residents as works are completed.

Emergency repairs

We will complete an emergency repair when:

  • there are health and safety implications

  • there is loss of a service which affects your comfort or convenience

  • there is a risk to the security of your home

  • not carrying out a repair will cause further damage to your home.

Examples include where there is:

  • total loss of electricity, gas or water

  • a reported gas leak

  • broken boiler with no heating or hot water

  • serious water leaks 

  • a blocked or non-flushing toilet and it’s the only one in your home.

Our priority for any emergency repair is to make the situation safe. Please understand that we may not be able to complete the full repair on our first visit.

We will prioritise repairs for older and vulnerable residents wherever possible.

Help us to keep you and our operatives safe

When you call the contact centre, they will check if you or a member of your household is self-isolating or showing any symptoms of coronavirus. If you are unwell or if our staff have any concerns we will rearrange the appointment for a later date. Thank you for your understanding.

If you have an emergency repair and are self-isolating or showing any symptom of the coronavirus, we will work to find a way that allows us to complete an emergency repair while best protecting the health and safety of our operatives. 

We have given our operatives clear advice to follow social distancing guidelines while working. This includes keeping two meters from their colleagues and our residents. Please help to support our operatives by keeping two meters between you while they are in your home - stay in a different part of your property wherever possible.

Caretaking and estate services

Our caretaking and estate services teams remain at work and are working hard to keep communal areas clean and tidy to help reduce the sperad of coronavirus.

Please support our caretaking teams by avoiding unnecesary contact with hard services in communal areas. We are paying particular attention to door handles, hand rails, door entry systems and lifts. Avoid using the lifts in your block unless you need them, this will help us to keep these spaces clean.

Information for our suppliers

We are continuing to pay our suppliers as normal. Please send invoices by email wherever possible. We have a good level of liquidity to be able to manage the current crisis.

How you can help

Thank you - as a community, we will come through this together.

Lewisham Local, along with Lewisham Council, Age UK and Voluntary Services Lewisham is coordinating volunteering efforts in the borough. You can find out more about how you might be able to help on Lewisham Local's website.

If you would like to make a donation to the Whitefoot and Downham Community Foodbank Plus, a very important cause for our area, you can do so online here.