Wolverhampton Homes offers support to tenants and homeless in city
New measures have been taken by Wolverhampton Council's housing arm to help support its 22,000 tenants – and homeless people in the city - during the coronavirus crisis.
Wolverhampton Homes, which manages homes on behalf of the authority, has opened its doors to provide emergency accommodation to those in need.
And the housing company has contacted 3,500 of its tenants aged 70 or over to ensure they have access to essentials – with 259 referrals made to the city's food distribution hub.
Darren Baggs, assistant director for housing, said: "We recognise that isolation and loneliness is a national issue amongst some of our communities, including older people who live alone and those with medical conditions that prevent them from getting out on their own.
"Due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the consequent restrictions imposed by government, our communities across the city need our support more than ever.
"Our focus now is ensuring vulnerable tenants have access to essentials and access to support during this period of lockdown."
Money Smart, the housing company's in-house money advice team, has seen a surge in people needing help – with them receiving three times the average number of referrals last month.
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“We understand that many of our tenants and leaseholders have been affected financially by this crisis," Mr Baggs added.
"Our focus right now is helping them to make their applications for Universal Credit and any other benefits or government grants they may be entitled to, and to provide reassurances regarding their housing situation."
Staff from Wolverhampton Homes and its partner organisations have already volunteered to help and deliver goods to those unable to leave their homes.
And the company has seen a spike in its Befriending Service – which provides weekly phone calls to elderly and isolated residents from volunteers.
Councillor Jacqueline Sweetman, cabinet member for city assets and housing, said: "This is an unprecedented situation for Wolverhampton and indeed the nation.
"As a city, we are having to make adjustments in our personal lives and many of us have seen changes to our financial circumstances.
"Quality housing services are key to us living healthy and happy lives, and with people spending more time than ever at home, this has never been more true.
"I would like to thank Wolverhampton Homes for the way in which it has risen to the challenge of supporting local people at this time of crisis, demonstrating that social housing is about far more than just bricks and mortar.
"It’s about also developing communities and ensuring personal and financial wellbeing."
Wolverhampton Homes has maintained its 24/7 telephone and Telecare service and other key front line services.
For more information visit whomes.org.uk/coronavirus
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