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Social Housing Resilience Group weekly update: 30 April

Update on key issues discussed by the SHRG.

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The Social Housing Resilience Group (SHRG) was convened by SFHA in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The SHRG aims to deal with the significant challenges the outbreak is causing so that social landlords can continue to provide the support that their tenants and communities need.  

Last week, the SHRG was joined by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart who has been attending and contributing on a regular basis and will continue to do so.   

The SHRG has continued to focus on, and address, the following issues identified by social landlords:    

  • PPE – national demand forecasts for the sector are currently being analysed by Scottish Government as an urgent key priority. SFHA members are being encouraged to share details of the level of cost increases for PPE, please send to Stacey Dingwall sdingwall@sfha.co.uk  

  • During a Ministerial Statement, Michael Russell confirmed second emergency legislation would be brought forward which would give registered social landlords more time to lodge their accounts with the Scottish Housing Regulator as requested by SFHA and others on the SHRG calls 

  • understanding landlord data – the Scottish Housing Regulator has now begun collecting a monthly landlord information return to understand the impact of coronavirus on landlords and plan co-ordinated responses. The first return should be completed by 7 May, and some minor changes could be made following feedback 

  • advice and protocols – the Scottish Government has published non-statutory guidance for the housing sector for local authorities, social landlords and private rented sector landlords to help them meet duties and legal requirements during the coronavirus pandemic. It covers the allocation of properties and implementation of a safe contactless letting process 

  • testing and tracing – the group is exploring how the housing sector could support communities if, and when, a wider community testing plan is introduced 

  • flexibilities with deadlines – the group is building intelligence on potential issues with landlords’ ability to meet deadlines in the medium-term as a result of the virus, to help plan potential solutions. This includes areas such as EESSH and smoke and heat detectors. If you are an SFHA member, and expect to have difficulties meeting such deadlines, please send details to Gillian Duddy gduddy@sfha.co.uk  

  • COVID-19: A Framework for Decision-Making – the SHRG will be providing a response to government on behalf of the social housing sector in order to provide proposals regarding how the sector might emerge from current lockdown.  SFHA will lead a subgroup and the first meeting will take place next week to discuss an outline proposal  

  • Recent changes to Universal Credit are being address by the SHRG with the DWP at Scotland and UK levels 

  • SFHA will shortly publish its own information return which will track the financial impact of Covid-19 on housing associations and will support the wider work of SHRG to ensure the Scottish Government has the evidence it needs in order to provide a package of financial assistance for the sector. Discussions are also ongoing with commercial lenders and UK Finance will join the call next week. 

To find out more about the group, please contact enquiries@sfha.co.uk  

Updates will be provided in SFHA's weekly bulletin, Housing Scotland Weekly, and through its social media channels 

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