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maintaining essential services during extreme weather and global pandemics

Image for maintaining essential services during extreme weather and global pandemics

The first quarter of 2020 has seen many housing associations across the country have their services severely disrupted and properties damaged by the recent storms and subsequent flooding. Storms Ciara, Dennis, Ellen and Jorge all brought heavy rain and strong winds across the UK, which has led to record high river levels and flooding to thousands of properties. Many parts of the UK have been affected with some estimates suggesting the costs to property owners could run into several billion pounds.

Even before the flooding has subsided we have now been hit with the Coronavirus. Currently, the average mortality rate of about 7.5% for people 60 and over, with nearly double that for people at the older end of the spectrum. If it spreads, which seems plausible, it could be potentially very serious for sheltered housing schemes. Housing providers across the country are preparing contingency plans and looking at ways to ensure they will be able to maintain essential services in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19.

Many of Alertacall’s clients in social housing have been using the Housing Proactive service to help with their planning in the event of serious events such as these.

The service is designed to confirm health and safety once or twice a day, get news and information to residents and, through our daily contact, help identify changing needs. These are all extremely useful features when communicating updates if there is impending flooding risk, or encouraging the right behaviours around Coronavirus. We can help detect issues early on, and, in a worst-case scenario, the service can prevent undiscovered tenant deaths if customers self-quarantine.

Housing providers have been using the service for the benefit of both staff and residents in several ways:

  • The messaging service is used to keep residents informed e.g. about what steps they can take to reduce the risks associated with Coronavirus. This will be far safer than calling people together for meetings.
  • Providers have efficiently been able to communicate changes in procedures, staff shortages or steps they are taking to minimise risks.
  • Increase the number of times a resident has contact with the OKEachDay team. For example, those residents who housing providers have additional concerns about can press their Housing Proactive OKEachDay button more than once a day.

The option also exists to deploy the service in new locations, especially where individuals may need to self isolate.

Housing Proactive is a housing management service used by around 50 housing associations and local authorities around the UK, and is designed specifically for individuals with higher needs, including older residents. Customers routinely engage with our easy to use equipment to collect property and tenancy news. Those choosing not to engage with their device are called by a highly trained member of the Alertacall team to exchange information in a format more suitable to them.

The messaging feature from Housing Proactive enables housing teams to schedule resident communications. Additionally, in an emergency, housing providers can broadcast messages at short notice to groups of customers (individual properties, whole schemes or even their entire stock) by recorded phone call, SMS or email.

Importantly, Housing Proactive increases contact with residents through proactive property checks. Increasing contact with residents in this way helps to ensure any maintenance issues caused as a result of the adverse weather conditions, are quickly identified. As the service involves daily contact, 365 days a year, it can be the fastest way for housing providers to identify health and safety issues.

If you would like to find out more about Housing Proactive and how it can help you improve resident communication, call us on 0808 208 1234 or email and we will answer any questions that you have.