COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - Advice for Highland Council tenants
25th March 2020
As a landlord, the Council's priority is maintaining the welfare of our tenants and providing you with essential services at this difficult time.
The situation is changing daily, but this bulletin contains the most up-to-date information about where you can seek advice if you have any concerns about your wellbeing, income or other tenancy matters.
We do expect further guidance from the government over the coming days and weeks. We will provide you with relevant information as and when we receive it.
1. Staying Safe and Well
Please seek the latest advice on hygiene and self-isolation from the NHS Scotland website
(ii) Vulnerable Tenants
Supporting our tenants is our main priority at this time. We will be trying to contact as many of our vulnerable tenants to see what support we may be able to assist with while you are self-isolating. Where we can we will direct you to other support at this time.
2. Council services
As you will be aware, most of our offices are now closed until further notice and the way we will deliver services is changing. We are accessing how we can deliver non-essential landlord services at this time, while keeping in line with the changing Government guidance.
We will continue to carry out emergency repairs and we will ask questions to make sure it is safe for a trades person to attend. We have issued detailed guidance to our trades and contractors to ensure they follow Government guidance when carrying out repairs.
We are awaiting Government advice on rents and benefit maximisation at this time, but we would encourage all tenants to keep in contact with the Council if you have any concerns and we can direct you to the required advice and assistance.
We thank you for your cooperation and we will be in contact in due course regarding updates to our services.
If you have any queries, please contact our Service Centre on 01349 886602
The Highland Council is working hard to release business grants to eligible local businesses as quickly as possible. The Council has received over 2,000 applications since the scheme was introduced last week and has set up systems to process these applications quickly while ensuring the necessary information is received.
Since The Highland Council's dedicated helpline went live last Wednesday afternoon staff have dealt with over 1,600 calls. The helpline has been set to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support.
Council tax payers in Highland who have lost their jobs or are experiencing a drop in their income are being encouraged to apply as quickly as possible for a reduction in their council tax. This help, known as the ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme', is available for lower income households, including home owners.
Around 19,000 business rate payers in Highland will not receive their annual rates bill this April. The Highland Council recognises the exceptional economic challenges for local business and has therefore decided to pause business rates bills in respect of financial year 2020/21.
What is 'shielding'? If you fall within one of the groups recommended to shield, you will have received a letter or text from the NHS. Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising contact between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.
During this time of restrictions it is important that we all stay active, for our physical health and mental well being. Recreation outside is an important element of this, but it is essential that each of us practice good social distancing while outside.
The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19. The single line number - 0300 303 1362 - will connect callers to relevant Council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.
Highland Council will be providing e-vouchers to families to support access to free school meals from week commencing 30 March 2020. This innovative and easy-to-use service will ensure over 4,000 school children will continue to receive support for school meals while schools are closed.
The Council has been working at pace to set up centres for the children of key workers. Anyone who has applied for a place at one of the key worker hubs in the Highland Council area will be contacted by the end of today (Wednesday 25th) with confirmation of the arrangements that have been put in place.
THE HELPLINE GOES LIVE TODAY FROM 2:00pm ONWARDS. The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19.
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