The global pandemic impacted everyone’s lives and often in unimaginable ways. With it came significant challenges of financial inclusion, increased domestic violence, safeguarding, hunger, poverty, homelessness, mental ill-health, and inequity for the most vulnerable in society; issues in our society that have a steady presence in our sector and ones that we continuously seek to address and campaign for.

With lockdown, social housing providers, along with our partners in public services and the charitable sector, had to call on their resources, expertise, and determination to continue to support the most in need in the most difficult of circumstances.

Some of the ways we worked collaboratively and innovatively within our organisation and wider communities included:

Launching a dedicated Here to Help service

Our Here to Help service was established for tenants to access any help or support they needed during this uncertain period. During the pandemic, the team made over 100,000 welfare calls to tenants and customers.

Establishing an Incident Support Team

We created an Incident Support Team to strategically and centrally manage and coordinate the Group’s resources, including redirecting and redeploying staff, skills, vehicles, and funding to those services that are most important to vulnerable customers.

Supporting people at risk of falling into arrears

To help tenants with financial hardship due to the pandemic, we amended our usual arrears procedures. We processed hundreds of new Universal Credit cases to support tenants facing financial challenges and secured over £160,000 of additional income for tenants

Providing emergency accommodation

We continued to support those in urgent need of housing, including people facing homelessness and women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Completing essential repairs and safety checks

Our Property Services Team continued to deliver vital services during the first lockdown, including 2,086 emergency repairs and 3,474 essential safety checks such as gas servicing and electrical testing, as well as undertaking asbestos surveys and inspections, fire risk assessments and work and water hygiene checks to keep customers and homes safe (the figures quoted are for the period 23 March 2020 to 31 May 2020).

Supporting our independent living customers

We increased tenant welfare calls, assisting tenants with technology to keep families connected, and coordinating activities to tackle boredom and isolation.

Supported living

We worked in partnership with over 100 support agencies to increase our welfare and support services for our tenants with learning disabilities, or autism, and mental ill-health.

Key Unlocking Futures

Key Unlocking Futures supported over 1,600 people and prevented over 300 cases of homelessness as well as supporting people through the Base Community Cafe and Foodbank.

Progress Living

Our Progress Living Team continued to provide safe accommodation to key workers from United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust, to help over 4000 NHS workers focus on fighting COVID-19. 

Other initiatives