Bridge Housing response to COVID19

Dear tenant community: The situation concerning the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Australia and across the world is rapidly changing. During this uncertain time, the health and wellbeing of you and our staff is our highest priority.

6 April 2020

What we are doing

Bridge Housing has just completed the first week of operating under our updated Service Delivery Protocols and new Work from Home procedures. These protocols and procedures have been adopted to keep residents, staff and other stakeholders safe while ensuring we comply with all NSW and Federal Government social distancing and health and safety requirements during the COVID19 situation.

We are open for business. Both the Goulburn St and Brookvale office continue to be staff by small teams, while the majority of our staff work remotely from home. Your Housing Manager is available to you by phone or email, no matter where they are working.

We are sending letters to all our tenants this week outlining the key things they need to remember when dealing with Bridge Housing under our changed service procedures at this time.

What you should do

Please remember:

  • To continue to pay your rent. Bridge housing will not include the COVID-19 Jobseekers Supplement and the one off Economic Support Oayment of $750 from the Government in the Rent Review. Go to Services Australia for information.
  • If you, or a household member, lose your job and are struggling to pay your rent, contact us immediately so we can review your rent payment. Please check with your employer to see if they are eligible for Jobkeeper payment which will help keep you employed.
  • To contact us by phone or email and only come to the office by prior appointment.

We have started Tenant Wellbeing Checks by phone to gain a better understanding how our older vulnerable tenants are coping with the pandemic and provide any additional assistance.

Please keep up social distancing and self-isolation. They’re helping to keep you, family, friends and the community safe. The NSW and Federal Governments have reported promising signs about containment of the COVID19 virus, though it’s still early days. Your efforts will help!

Please refer to the weekly bulletins below for information on other COVID19–related topics.

30 March 2020

New service delivery arrangements come into force today as Bridge Housing responds to the COVID19 situation and adopts new measures to keep our staff, residents and other stakeholders safe.

Paying your rent

Our priority at Bridge Housing is ensuring that all tenants sustain their homes and that we continue to deliver our essential services to applicants and tenants,

It is critically important that all tenants continue to pay their rent. Any tenant who is struggling to pay their rent as a result of COVID-19 should contact us. We will work with all households to tailor arrangements based on their needs.

For our customers in social housing, where rent is assessed based on income, we will not include Coronavirus Supplements, Special Payments or the Government Stimulus Payment as assessible income. This means around 95% of our customers will have more money in their household budget to meet expenses whilst continuing to pay a social housing rent.

What we are doing

As an essential service provider, Bridge Housing remains open for business.

However, from Monday March 30, some Bridge Housing service arrangements are changing:

  • Both the Goulburn St and Brookvale offices remain open for all our services during normal business hours
  • Offices will be staffed by smaller teams, while other staff work remotely from home. The teams will rotate each week.
  • We will be practising social distancing to keep everyone safe. Please contact any Bridge Housing staff member that you deal with by phone or email or make an appointment prior to coming in. 
  • We will continue to work with support service providers to ensure our residents can access the supports they need.
  • Face-to-face Community activities, including Tenant Advisory Group meetings, have been suspended for the time being to keep you safe.

What you should do

  • You can contact your Housing Manager by phone or email in the usual way. 
  • If you need to come in to the office, please make an appointment beforehand by phone: 8324 0800
  • Please visit the NSW Health website for the latest information on how to recognise the symptoms of COVID19, get tested for COVID19, self-report or keep yourself safe.
  • Please visit our COVID Information resources page for links to COVID health, social distancing and travel advice, and other useful information.

Please read our March 20 update below for current information on our:

  • Repairs and Maintenance and Property Inspection arrangements
  • Wellbeing checks with elderly and Aboriginal residents.

Photo: Unsplash

20 March 2020

What we are doing

In the coming weeks, we will be updating tenants via social media, tenant newsletters, phone and email on how this impacts our services to you. 

At Bridge Housing, we have introduced some precautionary measures to limit your and our staff exposure to the virus. 

Our Head Office in Goulburn Street and Northern Beaches Office in Brookvale will remain open for normal office hours. Our outreach services at Bondi Junction, South Coogee and Glebe will temporarily close, in order to reduce opportunities for the virus to be transmitted.

Current Bridge Housing Service Delivery Guidelines:

  • Staff have been asked to minimise physical contact with others including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres and cease physical greetings, such as handshakes.
  • Prior to any home visits or meetings in the office, staff will check with you that no-one in your household is ill with flu-like symptoms or has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. If you or a family member is ill, we will reschedule the appointment for two weeks later.
  • Property inspections will be postponed, unless required for a safety reason. If we need to attend your home we will give you the option to stay outside while the inspection is taking place to ensure that the 1.5m rule is adhered to at all times.
  • We will advise our maintenance contractors if we are aware a tenant has been exposed to the coronavirus to avoid their attendance at the property in all but emergency cases
  • Wherever possible, we will seek to conduct meetings by phone or, where possible, by video conference
  • Over the coming weeks we will conduct a wellbeing check on the phone with our elderly tenants over 80 years of age or 65 for Aboriginal residents
  • As a precaution, block meetings and other tenant and community events run by Bridge Housing are postponed until further notice.

We are monitoring the situation continuously and will keep you updated on any changes that impact our services to you.

What you should do

HealthIconEnsure you maintain good hygiene at all times by ensuring you:

If you develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of overseas travel, seek medical attention. Call your GP, visit the emergency department or call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember to check

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx for the most up to date information.

If you have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, please let us know by calling or emailing your housing manager. This will ensure we can advise staff and contractors and help to contain the spread of the virus.

If you are concerned about your wellbeing or the wellbeing of your neighbours, please let us know immediately by contacting your housing manager on 8324 0885.

Please tell any family members or friends who speak a community language that they can access information on our website using the Google Translate function on the home page and visiting this page.

Thank you for helping us to keep our community safe.

Photo: Elizaveta Dankevich at Unsplash