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Almond continues to support tenants through coronavirus pandemic

Housing assocation support tenants during COVID-19 outbreak. 

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Almond Housing Association has said that it is doing everything it can to help tenants through the coronavirus pandemic.

Following a letter sent to all tenants on Wednesday 18 March, Almond staff are working remotely and will ensure as many services as possible are running during this time.

There is support available for tenants, as the associations has a dedicated tenancy sustainment worker and welfare benefits adviser. Tenants can access these services by contacting their housing officer for a referral.

With the quickly changing circumstances of Covid-19, Almond has moved to stage two of its Business Continuity Plans as of Tuesday 24 March. Due to the requirements by the government to limit travel and activities, the association can no longer continue with stair cleaning and the garden aid scheme at this time.

Almond has also stopped all non-essential inspections, including stair inspections. All tenants have been reminded not to store anything in the close for the safety of themselves and others in the building.

The association has also made the difficult decision to stop all non-emergency repairs, including all void works. As such, the re-letting of housing has also had to stop.

Almond said that as gas servicing is essential for tenant’s safety, it will continue to carry out this service. Tenants are asked to allow access as much as possible, however, anyone self-isolating should make the association aware in the first instance.

Following the First Minister's request for all construction sites to shut down, Almond has stopped planned works, including the smoke detector contracts, replacement fencing, paint works and rendering.

All services will resume to normal as soon as it is safe to do so. Almond said its staff are committed to helping their tenants as much as possible, especially during this pandemic.

Almond added that community work has always been important to the association, and it is providing support and assistance to tenants and the local community during this time. The association continues to work with Riverside Community Fridge, which will remain open every Thursday and Friday from 09:30 to 12:30. Almond said it will make sure as many tenants who need this service are aware of the opening hours and restrictions in place. To continue with social distancing guidelines, the community fridge will only allow one person to collect food at a time.

Ladywell Community Fridge will also remain open on Friday afternoons, and restrictions mean that no one will be allowed into the building, but the staff and volunteers will create pre-made food parcels of different sizes for individuals to collect on behalf of their families. Almond tenants in the Ladywell area are welcome to use this if they are struggling to get the essentials.

Both community fridges were given one year’s worth of funding through Almond’s Community Soup Event in February, and these vital funds will support both organisations to keep running through the coronavirus pandemic. The association has also used funds to donate essentials, such as nappies, toiletries and food items for both community fridges.

The Community Soup Event also supported West Lothian Food Train to purchase resources for its shopping service and newly launched Eat Well Buddy Service. Volunteers are working through this outbreak to shop for vulnerable and elderly residents.

There is also funding available through Aberlour Urgent Assistance Fund. Tenants who are experiencing extreme hardship, and have a child under the age of 21, may be eligible to apply. Tenants are being encouraged to get in touch with their housing officer for further information.

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