Last week Jon Cruddas MP was contacted by Clarion’s Head of Housing regarding their approach to the Covid-19 crisis, and what that means for residents living on the Orchard Village estate in South Hornchurch.

Jon Cruddas, who has been working with Clarion and residents on a range of issues for some time said: “Clarion have reacted quickly to the fast changing government guidelines and I am assured that they are doing all they can to support residents. This includes checking in on older residents with Independent Living arrangements, and making sure that staff are working from home, like many of us, to answer calls and respond to any issues promptly.”

The housing group has put many measures in place to establish new ways of working and ensure that residents needs are met during this time. An overview of the measures can be found below. For the latest service status visit: https://www.myclarionhousing.com/about-us/contact_us/servicestatus/  

Over 55s

The team are completing welfare calls, fire alarm testing and health and safety checks on the buildings of LiveSmart tenants. All lettings to these units are currently suspended due to the vulnerability and risks to residents. In the case of an emergency requirement such as someone leaving hospital, Clarion will carry out a full risk assessment and work with providers to try and accommodate their needs.

Customer Contact

The contact centre continues to deliver full service with the majority of staff providing the service from home. Residents can contact online or by phone:

Travel

Clarion have asked all staff to only travel by car, van, motorcycle, bicycle or by walking for essential on-site work and visits. Staff have been requested not to use public transport if at all possible. Flexible working hours have also been offered for those who do not have access to their own transport.

Welfare Benefits Help

Residents who have lost work, have reduced hours or cannot work because they are sick/self-isolating should be eligible for one or more of Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance. Clarion have set up a benefit check on their website to let residents know what help they are entitled to: https://clarionhg.entitledto.co.uk/home/start 

Clarion also have a number of Welfare Benefit Advisors who operate throughout all of Clarion’s housing stock who are able to provide advice and support.

Money Guidance

The housing group also have a specialist money guidance team who can be contacted via the customer contact centre or via the website. The team will help by doing a detailed assessment of household needs and support residents to plan ahead. To access this service please use the online contact form found here:

https://www.myclarionhousing.com/advice-and-support/clarion-futures-money-and-digital/ 

Collecting Rent

Clarion has to collect rent to function as an organisation but will continue to provide support to those in greatest financial need through their charitable foundation and Welfare Benefit Advisers. Details of these services are in the links above.

There will be no evictions in Clarion homes for non-payment of rent during the coronavirus emergency, but we will return to business as usual after it has ended.

Housing Services

Home visits will only be carried out where absolutely essential and Clarion have moved to doing many tasks over the phone. Vulnerable residents are being contacted regularly to ensure they have the support they need. Where needed Clarion will assist with referrals to internal and external agencies such as Clarion Futures, food banks and Citizens Advice.

They are continuing to provide a near full caretaking and cleaning service on all estates and in communal areas. These include maintaining bulk refuse removal and the maintenance of internal and external communal spaces. All staff have been given clear safety guidelines and provided with personal protection equipment.

Completing Repairs

At present Clarion are only carrying out critical repairs. For more information on which repairs will be completed during this time, please visit: https://www.myclarionhousing.com/about-us/contact_us/servicestatus/ 

In a recent letter to Jon Cruddas MP, Helen Wilson, Head of Housing (North London) said: “Of course we all hope we can return to a normal service as quickly as possible. In the meantime, whilst the current Government restrictions remain in place, we will maintain an adjusted service. If the current restrictions tighten, we will adjust our services accordingly.”