Notice from Camden about Services on 8th April.
Coronavirus and your housing services
You will already have seen some changes to your housing services as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic develops but your housing teams are working hard to make sure essential work continues. Your safety and wellbeing is always the council’s first priority and we are here to help you through this difficult time – you’ll find contact details at the end of this letter.
Temporary changes to your estate caretaking service
Your estate caretakers have been working incredibly hard with far fewer staff than normal, but we now need to make changes to make sure that caretaking resources are shared across Camden. We may need to move our caretakers to different parts of the borough, prioritising estates that need it most.
At the moment because of illness and self-isolation we have half the staff we normally do but we know that these numbers will go up and down as caretakers come back to work or go off sick. Your safety is our first priority and your caretakers will continue to keep estates to a minimum level of cleanliness and maintain health and safety.
Our caretakers will now only be able to carry out essential cleaning apart from on sheltered schemes where we will continue to provide our normal cleaning service – our focus is protecting our most vulnerable residents. Essential cleaning will take place from Monday to Friday and includes:
Outside: Your caretakers will probably not be able to sweep outside areas while we have less staff. Caretakers will continue to clean bin rooms on a rotation, attempt to unblock chutes, report emergency repairs, clean up dangerous items and move bulk waste to the right place.
Inside: We will for as long as possible keep lobbies clean and safe, clean lifts every day, check lights, signpost rough sleepers to support and try to move them on, report essential repairs.
Your caretakers will continue to keep an eye on vulnerable residents living alone as they always have done. There will still be a full out of hours emergency service provided by residential caretakers which does include emergency cleaning. This service runs from 5pm until 11pm on weekdays and 9am until 11pm at weekends.
Cleaning lift buttons
We have had a number of questions about whether we will be cleaning lift buttons several times a day. The short answer is no – a disinfected lift button only stays disinfected until the next person touches it, and it’s not possible for our caretakers to clean every button in our 500 lifts every time someone uses it. What we are asking is that everyone takes personal responsibility by making sure you wash your hands thoroughly when you get home to protect yourself and your family.
Help our frontline staff
These are unprecedented times for the service, for Camden, for you and your families – and we need to work together. There is going to be a reduced caretaking service at times and we need you to bear with us and support our key workers who are still travelling to work, sometimes from across London, to keep where you live safe and clean. Please help your frontline staff.
To help keep a good service running, we need everyone in Camden homes to make small changes:
Please stand at least 2 metres away from anyone you don’t live with, including our staff who are working.
Do your bit by not dropping litter and doing what you can to keep your area clean.
Put out your rubbish and recycling properly (in the bins or chute) so your caretakers don’t have to touch your bags. If a bin is full, find another one – and if something is too big for the chute, don’t put it in. Blocked chutes can be really dangerous and are difficult to fix.
Don’t put tissues, food waste, nappies or black bags in your recycling – your rubbish and recycling teams won’t be able to collect it. Flatten boxes to make room in the communal bins and if you are not sure what you can recycle, check camden.gov.uk/whatgoesinbins
Don’t put out bulky waste like furniture, fridges and mattresses – we might not be able to collect them so keep them inside your home for now.
Thank you to some of our TRAs and residents who have volunteered to help keep their estates tidy. We are grateful for your continued support.
Stay 2m away from everyone you don’t live with
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) everyone should stay home unless you cannot work from home, are going to buy essential groceries, attending a medical appointment or exercising (once a day). If you’re using the lift in your block and there’s someone in it already, wait for the next lift or take the stairs.
All playgrounds are now closed – even if your estate’s playground isn’t locked off by a gate, please keep everyone safe and do not use it.
Where social distancing isn’t possible, some of Camden’s major new build regeneration projects, including those in the Community Investment Programme and the West End Project, have now closed their sites.
Some essential works to keep our council homes safe and in good repair as part of the Better Homes programme will continue with new safe working arrangements in place. We are monitoring Government advice carefully and will update you if there are any changes to works on your building or estate.
Emergency repairs only
We will now only be carrying out emergency repairs inside tenants’ homes. Repairs to communal areas will be carried out if it is safe to do so, and we will continue to review this arrangement. Please also note that repairs to services such as lifts, communal heating and lighting are also continuing. Emergency repairs include suspected gas or carbon monoxide leaks, loss of hot water or power and any other works needed to keep your home or building safe.
You can find a full list of emergency repairs at camden.gov.uk/housing-repairs If you have any questions about repairs please call 020 7974 4444 (option 3 then 1).
If you are worried about paying your bills we can help
If you’re a tenant and you’re worried about paying your rent, get in touch with your neighbourhood housing officer on 020 7974 4444. No tenant will be evicted from our council homes if there is clear evidence that they have been unable to pay rent as a direct result of COVID-19. If you are a leaseholder and you think you will have difficulty paying your service charge or major works invoices, call call 020 7974 3559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about coronavirus including what it means for your council services, how to access support, look after your mental health and what you can do to help people in your community, as well as to sign up for email updates, visit camden.gov.uk/coronavirus
If you live alone and are self-isolating or unwell and need help to go shopping, or are worried about someone else who might need help, call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9).
Thank you for your patience and support as we work hard to keep everyone safe.
Cllr Apak’s signature
Cllr Meric Apak, Cabinet Member for Better Homes