Staff gone above and beyond
Tenants have praised the support they have received from a housing group’s staff during the pandemic.
Wheatley’s 500 housing staff across Scotland have been working from home since March and are staying in close contact with their tenants, particularly the elderly and more vulnerable customers, by phone, text and online.
Across Wheatley Group’s social landlords, housing officers have made more than 260,000 calls to customers in the past six months, including to check how they are and offer any support.
That support includes help with benefit claims, fuel advice or emergency food parcels, as well as help to buy essential items from nappies to mobile phone top-ups and even activity packs for children.
Tenants say they are delighted their housing officers are looking out for them.
In Glasgow, GHA tenant Betty McKinnon, 66, from Ruchazie, said: “My housing officer Christine was brilliant. She always phoned to check how I was getting on.
“Lockdown has been hard, I’m used to being out and about all the time, but knowing my housing officer is there for me is a great support.”
In West Lothian, WLHP tenant Shona Elliott, 48, from Blackburn, said: “Our housing officer Marisa has been brilliant. She was always on the end of the phone, checking we were okay.
“She got us electricity top-ups and supermarket vouchers to buy food.
“Marisa’s been more like a family friend rather than our housing officer.”
In Grangemouth, Loretto Housing Elizabeth Steenvinkel, said: “My housing officer Paul has done so much to help during lockdown.
“He helped arrange food parcels when we were really struggling. He was always there for me when I needed help.”
Olga Clayton, Wheatley Group Director of Housing and Care, added: “We’re doing all we can to support our most vulnerable customers during these difficult times.
“Our housing officers have patch sizes of just 200 homes – among the smallest in the UK – so they know their customers well and often have very close relationships with them.
“While we’ve seen an increase in the number of customers needing our support, the reassurance we can provide can often be as important as practical help.
“People know they have our support online and over the phone and really appreciate that someone is there for them.”