Coronavirus update: service changes and support

UPDATED 14/05/2020

Poplar HARCA’s priority remains the health of residents and staff.  We are currently running a limited service in line with the latest Government advice.

We are focussing on delivering essential services such as essential repairs (e.g. gas, electricity and leaks), cleaning and looking after our vulnerable residents.

Our offices are closed. 

You can still access our services by logging onto MyHARCA. Here you can view your statement and pay your rent or service charge.

Alternatively, you can call 0800 035 1991 to make a payment or report an essential epair. You can also email us at info@poplarharca.co.uk.

We can’t currently accept or issue cheques. For alternative ways to pay, please click here.

Our Estate Services team has remained out and about, and is working on a reduced rota focusing on health and safety works.  Please keep 2m away from them as they go about their daily tasks.

Our centres are being used to support older and vulnerable households, and we are working with local charities, mutual aid groups and the Council.  We have online resources free for everyone:

If you feel you may need extra help, or are worried about an elderly or vulnerable neighbour, please let us know.

Construction sites are working again. This is important to the workforce and the local economy, but also to residents who are in housing need. Sites will be following strict safety guidance.

We will keep you updated if we make further changes as we respond to Government advice and want to reassure you that we are doing all we can to reduce the risk to both residents and staff.

We are sharing important coronavirus updates in our e-newsletter. Sign up now, or read the latest edition.

We appreciate your understanding during these exceptional circumstances.

For more information on how you can take action to protect yourself and others, visit the NHS website.

Helpful links and information

Health information
Official information from NHS
Answers to 5 common questions from NHS
Useful information for the elderly from Age UK

Information from the Government
Official information and updates from the Government
Useful updates from BBC news
Register an extremely vulnerable person for support

Information from Tower Hamlets

The Residents' Support Scheme 
Official information from Tower Hamlets Council
Useful local advice agencies and national helplines
Contact information for support services

Tower Hamlets Council have a set up a phone helpline on 0207 364 3030 to support residents that have been identified as being extremely vulnerable and at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 caused by coronavirus. All other residents who need support can use the online form, to let the council know about their situation and any issues they may face while isolating or managing their care during the coronavirus pandemic.

Financial information & Universal Credit

Residents' Support Scheme - financial help for Tower Hamlets residents in crisis
Universal Credit - making a claim if your circumstances have changed
Money Saving Expert - financial help and to know your rights
The Money Advice Service - employment rights
Citizens Advice - work, benefits and travel

Local foodbanks
Foodbanks across the country are experiencing high demand. You can support local organisations by making a donation online.
First Love Foundation
Bow Foodbank
Newham Foodbank

Covid-19 Mutual Aid community groups
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK
Bow (E3)
Bromley North
Bromley South
Lansbury & Poplar
Limehouse
Mile End
Royal Docks
Tower Hamlets

Help with shopping and errands
Neighbours in Poplar on 020 7987 0257 or email
St Hilda’s East (referral only – contact Tower Hamlets Homes’ support line for more info on 020 7364 5015)
Women’s Inclusive Team on 020 7790 2650
Limehouse Aid on 020 3322 7452 or email

Mental health support
Samaritans
Mind
Mental Health UK

Support for young people
Our Spotlight team supports young people aged 11-19 (or up to 25 if they have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)). Even though our centres are closed, the team is available for telephone chats for young people who need help, referrals or someone to talk to. Get in touch.
Advice & resources for parents and carers

Volunteering opportunities
Our local community has pulled together to support each other, and many organisations are recruiting more people to help.
Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets - variety of roles. Apply here.
St. Paul’s Old Ford Church - help with handing out free school meals. They are also in touch with other community leaders who need extra help. Apply here.
Women’s Inclusive Team – help with food and delivery assistance service. Contact 07984 854 191 or email.
Poplar HARCA – variety of roles. Apply here.
Poplar Shahjalal Masjid - help with shopping for people. Contact 07931 170 624 or 07950 598 867.

Support for business tenants

Poplar HARCA has temporarily suspended credit control activities and our business tenants won’t be charged interest on late payments. 

Find more advice and support for our business tenants here.

Tower Hamlets Council

New grants for business ratepayers including details about action you must take to receive a grant payment.
Support and advice.

Fraud

The Metropolitan Police have received reports of coronavirus-related scams:

  • NHS tests: Fraudsters claim to be doing coronavirus tests on behalf of the NHS. If anyone knocks on your door, ignore them and call the Police.
  • Phishing emails: Fraudsters claim to be from research organisations linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious or unsolicited emails, and never respond to emails, calls or messages that ask for your personal or financial details. 
  • Free school meals: Fraudulent emails ask for bank details to support those entitled to free school meals. Do not open these emails, and delete immediately. Find out more.
  • Shopping for the elderly: Fraudsters claim to be from supermarkets, take money from elderly residents for shopping and then don’t return. Do not hand over money to anyone knocking on your door and call the Police. 
  • Online shopping: If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first and use a credit card if you have one. Find out more.

Install the latest software and updates to protect your devices from the latest threats.

Keeping safe at home

Our Safeguarding team is here to support residents who may be at increased risk of domestic abuse during this stay at home period.
We want to assure those who may use work as a safe haven and are now unable to do so, that we are here to listen and advise you.
If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse and you’re concerned for your or their safety, please call us on 0800 035 1991 (ask to speak to the Safeguarding team) or report it to us online.
If anyone is in immediate risk of harm, please always call 999.

There are various national support agencies who may also be able to provide you with advice and support:
Refuge on 0808 2000 247 - domestic abuse helpline
Women’s Aid live chat or email
Galop on 0800 999 5428 - LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline
Respect on 0808 802 4040 - anonymous & confidential helpline for perpetrators 
Respect on 0808 801 0327 - confidential helpline for male victims
Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247 - supporting victims of  honour based abuse and forced marriage 
Hour Glass on 0808 808 8141 - challenging the abuse of older people in all its forms

Keeping children safe
The current lockdown could put some children at greater risk of abuse, as families are under new pressures, spending much more time at home and children are not seeing other adults, like grandparents and teachers who might normally be able to help.

We can all play our part by checking in with families and reaching out for support and advice if we have any concerns.

The NSPCC website provides lots of useful guidance on how to spot the signs, ways to keep in touch and where to access help.

If a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999 straight away.

If you are worried about a child, the Tower Hamlets Early Help service can provide support with parenting, money troubles, emotional health and much more, to help stop problems becoming more serious. You can make an online referral here.

Repairs in your home

From Monday 23 March 2020, we will only carry out essential repairs to residents’ homes. This means if you had a non-essential repair booked on or after 23 March, this has been cancelled.

We are not logging or booking non-essential repairs at the moment. If in a month’s time the repair is still needed, please contact us for advice. Communal and estate works will continue as usual because there is no risk of close contact between people.

For a list of essential repairs, useful information, and resources to help you carry out basic repairs jobs in the meantime click here.

For essential repairs, please call us on 0800 035 1991.

Our contractors are taking extra safety measures to help keep you and themselves healthy while they work in your home. Find out more here.

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