The emergency repairs Gentoo will carry out in Sunderland during lockdown - what to do if you have an household breakdown

Housing association Gentoo has announced a major shake-up of services in response to the coronavirus outbreak to help protect tenants, residents and staff.

Thursday, 26th March 2020, 12:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2020, 4:20 pm

Gentoo Group owns and manages more than 28,000 social housing properties in Sunderland.

Following the Government’s decision to enforce a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on Monday, Gentoo has adopted a ‘temporary service offer’ for at least three weeks.

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This includes the closure of offices, sales offices and showhomes and suspending housing allocations- which means properties cannot be bid on.

All routine repairs or non-essential home visits and non-essential work relating to maintenance and investment programmes have been suspended – but “emergency responsive repairs” will continue.

In the current situation, “emergency responsive repairs” include:

:: Total loss of power (not including power cuts in the area or loss due to pre-payment meter credit running out).

:: Total loss of heating or hot water.

:: Excessive water leaks that cannot be contained.

:: Water on electrics.

:: No power to medical equipment e.g. stair lifts.

:: External communal doors not opening or closing.

:: Full sounding fire alarms.

:: Blocked toilet (if only one toilet in the house).

:: Exit door or ground floor window not secure.

:: Suspected gas leaks/escapes.

:: Suspected exposure to carbon monoxide.

Housing bosses will also be safely winding down construction sites which will stop operating fully by Friday, March 27, 2020.

Gentoo Group have said that the welfare of its tenants, residents and employees will continue to be its “main priority”.

“This is a challenging time for us all,” Gentoo Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Nigel Wilson, said.

“Like every other organisation and business in the country, we are following the Government’s instructions and playing our part in protecting our NHS, our communities and our colleagues.

“We recognise the key role we have in supporting so many people across Sunderland and have implemented plans to ensure we continue to provide critical and emergency services to our tenants where possible.

“We’re also working closely with Sunderland City Council to ensure we support people across the city as best as we can during this difficult period.”

As part of Gentoo’s response to coronavirus, restrictions have been put in place within extra care and supported housing schemes to protect residents and colleagues.

Gentoo’s support staff will be available at each scheme every morning to support residents and “intensive cleaning” will also be carried out in “high contact areas” within residential buildings with communal areas.

Tenants currently receiving support from support coordinators will receive wellbeing phone calls twice daily.

Due to office closures, customers are advised to make rent payments online, over the phone or at an ‘Allpay PayPoint.’

Residents who are supplied with district heating in Washington can access specific information about how to top up their cards on Gentoo’s website.

And in cases of lost income as a result of coronavirus, customers are also advised to follow Government guidance around claiming relevant support.

Gentoo customers can also contact their neighbourhood coordinators directly if they have any tenancy related queries, including concerns about paying rent.

For contact numbers and more details, visit Gentoo’s dedicated coronavirus page here: www.gentoogroup.com/coronavirus

Guidance around Universal Credit can also be found here: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus