Highland Council Issues Covid-19 Advice To Tenants
7th April 2020
The Highland Council is sending a bulletin to all council tenants providing them with advice about issues related to Coronavirus.
The bulletin contains information of a wide range of topics including energy advice, details on changes to homelessness services, how to get housing support, support for anyone in rent arrears, awareness tips from Trading Standards on staying safe from scams, a reminder on how to continue receiving free school meals, specific information for any tenants shielding, what practical support is available in communities and sharing national helplines for people to stay connected. The briefing also gives a long list of key contact details for organisations and service providers.
As well as issuing the Briefing the Council's Housing Team are currently contacting all tenants to make sure that they are ok or to provide advice and assistance where needed. They are doing this by text, email and telephone. If a tenant receives a text, email or call from the team, it is not a scam.
A tenant who has received the briefing said: "It is very decent and kind of the Highland Council to be so supportive at this very difficult time for everyone.
Councillor Ben Thompson, Chair of the Housing and Property Committee said: "Our housing staff are receiving lots of messages of support from tenants who are very appreciative of the work going on to keep them informed.
“As a landlord, the Council's priority is maintaining the welfare of our tenants and providing people with essential services at this difficult time, so I am glad the bulletin, which contains so much information, is being issued to tenants.
“The situation is changing daily, but the bulletin contains the most up-to-date information about where they can seek advice if they have any concerns about their wellbeing, income or other tenancy matters."
He added: “We are continuing to carry out emergency repairs and we will ask tenants 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."
The briefing, which is available of the Highland Council’s website from this link - https://www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus/tenant_briefing , explains that all the information in it is correct at that time of issue but as national guidance is being updated on a regular basis and the situation may have moved on, tenants are asked to check the web sites listed on the next page for current updates
Anyone in need of urgent help regarding the COVID-19 situation should call the free helpline on 0300 303 1362. If your query is related to other urgent council business, please contact our Service Centre on 01349 886602.
For further information, latest coronavirus developments and changes to key Council services visit www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus
The Highland Council is assessing the implications of the First Minister's announcements made on the 21st May about the first stage relaxation of lockdown, concerning teachers and other education staff returning to the workplace during June to prepare for the return to school and settings on 11th August. Highland Council's Education Committee Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The return to workplace and Highland schools for our Education staff will have to be undertaken carefully and gradually.
The Highland Council's Environmental Health Team is advising consumers to use their water wisely and check their private water supply systems for any signs of water leaks or risks of contamination. A private water supply is a property that does not have a Scottish Water mains water connection.
The Highland Council can now confirm which of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will re-open from Monday 1st June 2020. A phased approach to re-opening the sites will be adopted with strict controls in place to help manage social distancing and to ensure the anticipated high number of visitors and volume of waste can be handled safely and efficiently.
The Highland Council's Housing Service currently operates an annual garden aid scheme, cutting grass in approximately 1,300 council house gardens. The Garden Aid service is for older or disabled tenants who don't have anyone to help them cut their grass.
Following an ambitious bid by Highland Council supported by NHS Highland, to deliver rapid active travel interventions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Highland Council has been awarded £752,954 from the Scottish Government's Spaces for People fund, which is administered by Sustrans. Over the coming weeks towns across Highland and the City of Inverness will see a roll-out of temporary walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure along priority routes.
Public assurance is being provided by Highland Council that the organisation is fully transparent and accountable during the COVID-19 emergency response as it publishes decisions made by its group of senior officers - or Gold Group* - under emergency procedures. The list of decisions made since 19 March 2020 is on the Council's website at the following link and will continue to the added to and updated as further decisions are made using emergency procedures.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £56,286,250 million to 5135 Highland businesses. The Highland Council's Head of Development and Regeneration, Allan Maguire, said: "We now are processing applications and approving payment within days of a business submitting a complete online application form and its accompanying evidence.
The Highland Council is pleased to announce that preparations are well underway for re-opening many of the Household Waste Recycling Centres across the region to the public from Monday 1 June 2020. The sites in Highland, along with all other Scottish Local Authorities, have been closed since the end of March due to the government's Covid-19 restrictions on non-essential travel.
Highland Council's Recovery Board Chair, Cllr Alasdair Christie has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government's road map phasing the way out of lockdown, which was published earlier today. The First Minister revealed that Phase 1 of the Government's new four phase plan, could come into effect on 28 May, however the advice remains stay home, protect the NHS and save lives for now.
The Highland Council has noted the outcomes at Inverness Sherriff Court this morning regarding Home Farm Care Home on the Isle of Skye. The Sheriff made no decision on the Care Inspectorate's application to suspend registration but has adjourned the matter until 10 June 2020 on the basis that the collaborative approach being taken will continue to be monitored.
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