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December 2012

a newsletter for tenants of Crosby Housing Association

The Board and Staff at Crosby Housing Association wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year

Christmas Hours The Crosby Housing Association office in Church Road, Waterloo closes at 1.00 p.m. Monday 24th December 2012 and re-opens at 9.00 a.m. Wednesday 2nd January 2013 For emergency and urgent repairs only, please call:

0845 057 7096 24 hours Crosby Housing Association is an exempt charity incorporated as an Industrial and Provident Society No 19175R.

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Welfare Benefit Reforms From April 2013 if your home has more bedrooms than the government says you need and you are under pensionable age, then your housing benefit may be reduced by either 14% or 25%, depending on how many „spare‟ rooms you have. This has become known as the „bedroom tax‟. Below are some examples of how people in different circumstances will be affected. If you are concerned by this reduction in your housing benefit, please contact Paul, Ami or Esther in the CHA Housing Services Team and we will do our best to help. Mrs A is a single parent in a three bed house, she has two male children aged 7 and 12 and because they are under 16 she is only deemed as needing two bedrooms. Mrs A works part time but as she is on a low income she is in receipt of full housing benefit. Mrs A‟s rent is £88.44 per week and as she has a „spare bedroom‟, although her sons do not share a room, so she will lose 14% of her housing benefit. This means Mrs A will need to pay £12.38 towards her rent each week. Mrs A approached her landlord and was given priority transfer status and re-housed in a two bedroom house where her full rent will be paid by housing benefit. Mrs X is a single person in a three bed house, she has lived in her home for 24 years and has raised a family who have all grown up and moved into homes of their own. Mrs X does not work due to ill health. As Mrs X is under pensionable age the „bedroom tax‟ applies to her. As Mrs X is deemed as needing one bedroom she has two spare bedrooms in her property so her housing benefit will be reduced by 25%. Mrs X‟s weekly rent is £84.00 so she will have to pay £21.00 per week towards her rent. Mrs X approached her landlord because she wanted to take in two lodgers to make up the shortfall in her rent. Her landlord agreed to this and Mrs X now receives enough income to pay her rent. Jane and John Smith are brother and sister. They live together in a rented 3 bedroomed house. John has a mental health disability and is physically disabled, he uses a wheelchair and has a stair lift and grab rails installed in the house. John is under the care of the Community Mental Health Team and attends regular reviews with a Consultant Psychiatrist. They have both lived in the house for all of their lives. It was their parental home. Jane succeeded to the tenancy following the death of their parents. Jane is in receipt of Income Support (£45.00 per week) and Carer‟s Allowance (£58.00 per week). John is in receipt of Incapacity Benefit (£110 per week) and Disabled Living Allowance of (£526 per month). The weekly rent is £90 and as Jane and John under occupy the house by 1 bedroom, from April 2013 Jane will need to pay a £12.60 per week contribution to her rent. Jane and John worked with their landlord and registered with Property Pool Plus. They are bidding on suitable properties when they become available and hope to move in to a 2 bed property shortly. If they do not move before April their landlord will work with them to apply for a discretionary housing benefit payment to make up the shortfall.

Phil is a 24 year old single man living in a 2 bed flat, he receives full housing benefit to pay his rent of £80.00 per week. From April 2013 his housing benefit will be reduced by 14% or £11.20 per week and he will struggle to pay this from his Job Seekers allowance of £56.25 per week. He has not spoken to his landlord and not agreed how he will pay this amount. In April 2013 his rent arrears will grow and his landlord will have no choice but to follow the arrears procedure which could result in him losing his home. Page 2

Christmas Events in Waterloo and Seaforth Once again Crosby Housing Association was at the forefront in co-ordinating the annual Christmas light celebrations at Waterloo and Seaforth, but we couldn‟t have done it alone. So many thanks to the partners who joined in to ensure that the events went smoothly Sefton MBC, Merseytravel, United Utilities, One Vision, Adactus Housing and the Expect Centre in Seaforth. Special thanks must go to our VIP guest, the Mayor of Sefton Councillor Kevin Cluskey who joined us at each event and performed the official „switch on‟ assisted by local school children and local Paralympian Jamie Burdekan at Waterloo. Several other organisations also supported us including Sing +, who once again provided a magnificent grotto for the army of children who made their Christmas wishes known to Father Christmas. Waterloo Traders and several community groups in Seaforth provided stalls at the events and enabled the crowds to pick up some Christmas bargains.

Our performers get better each year and another special thanks to them, especially our younger performers and school children who always wow the crowds with their delightful performances. We are also grateful to the wonderful In Another Place Gospel Choir who have joined us at both events and once again set the area rocking with their powerful performances. Finally thank you to all those stewards including those from the Merseyside Combined Cadet Force – the unsung heroes who give up their free time to ensure that the events run smoothly – we really appreciate your help.

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Neighbourhood Walkabouts At different points throughout the year housing officers from CHA participate in walkabouts in Waterloo and Seaforth. These walkabouts are held in conjunction with staff from Sefton MBC, neighbourhood officers from OVH, local councillors and local police. The purpose of these walkabouts is to identify „grot spotsâ€&#x; and to help combat problem areas. Examples of things looked out for on walkabouts are fly tipping, graffiti and vandalism. The walkabouts usually last one to two hours and if you would like to take part in a walkabout please contact the office and register your interest so we can invite you to the next one.

Rent Reminder At this busy time of the year it is important not to forget to pay your rent on time. Remember banks, post offices and CHA offices will be closed over the Christmas holidays and payments will take longer to come through. Why not set up a Standing Order from your bank to pay your rent ? It could not be easier, it takes 2 minutes to do. Call into the office and we will help you complete a Standing Order form that you can then take to the bank. Remember, the CHA office closes at 1.00pm on Christmas Eve and re-opens again in the New Year at 9.00am, Wednesday 2nd January.

Communal Inspections Crosby Housing Association undertakes regular inspections of the communal areas of all its properties. These inspections identify outstanding repairs, monitor the delivery of communal services and ensure compliance with Health and Safety requirements. Recent inspections of the communal areas have identified several areas of non-compliance with Health and Safety requirements, for example: The storage of bikes, prams, scooters, trolleys, general clutter in hall ways. The storage of goods within main and secondary hall ways and stairwells. Leaving waste bins and items in communal hall ways. Storing items in electric and gas meter cupboards. Laundry hanging in stairwells to dry. Building materials, tools and equipment left in communal areas. All of the above contribute to an increased fire risk or an obstruction to a means of escape and should be removed. We will be conducting further visits in January to check that this has been complied with. Please remove these items without delay. Page 4

Keep Warm and Safe - Malcolm’s Christmas Tips Malcolm “Rudolf” Gilbert, CHA‟s Technical Services Manager, offers a few tips to safeguard you this Christmas, make your home more cosy and help to cut down on your fuel bills. During cold weather i.e. when temperatures drop below 2 degrees centigrade, leave your heating on low. This prevents pipes freezing, subsequent bursts and disruption to water supplies over the festive period. Remember to shut the curtains in the evening and consider lining your curtains with fabric to keep the heat in. You can make a simple draft excluder by stuffing a simple sausage shape of material and laying it in front of the door, the leg from an old pair of woolly tights would be ideal, remember to add a couple of pebbles wrapped in cloth to weigh the sausage down and keep it in place. Don‟t plug in numerous Christmas decorations into one outlet using excessive adaptors, this may over load electrics causing them to „trip‟ or cause damage to the mains supply. This could leave your home without electrics for most of the day, as it is difficult to obtain parts for repair over the Christmas period.

You can also fit radiator foil behind radiators to reflect heat back into the room, it‟s simple but effective, just cut to shape and tape it to the wall. Also disconnect hoses from outside taps and drain to prevent damage.

If you are going away during the festive season, do not leave valuables on display in your home. You may also want to consider taking any valuables like laptops, PCs, games consoles and jewellery with you. When you go out, don‟t leave presents, wrapped or unwrapped, on display in your house or car and always make sure that your windows and doors are securely locked. Keep valuables like purses, wallets and mobile phones out of the reach of thieves. When out shopping, try to avoid carrying large amounts of cash on you.

Temporary Heaters If you have been provided with a temporary heater or de-humidifier in the past please contact the office and we will happily come and collect it in the new year.

Did Santa bring you a new phone or computer this Christmas? If so, please let us have your new phone number and email address so that our records are up-to-date for when we need to get in touch.

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Retirements - Doug and Fay In November Doug Mellor, CHA Director of Finance and Asset Management bid farewell to CHA after 27 years of service. Doug will be missed by all here at CHA and I‟m sure you will join us in wishing wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.

In December we also said farewell and a big thank you to Fay Jones who has volunteered in the Charity shop on most Tuesdays for the past 10 years. Fay said “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time over the last 10 years ... this is not just a Charity Shop, it is focal point for the South Road community.

Business Planning Day 2013 Crosby Housing Association is holding its Annual Business Planning Day on Wednesday 30 th January 2013. The Association‟s Board, staff and a group of tenants will meet at the Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre to consider objectives, issues and priorities which will feed into our planning and budgeting process for the next financial year. If you wish to attend on the day, please get in touch with us no later than Monday 7 th January so that we can confirm booking arrangements. To allow all staff to take part in the planning day, the office will be closed on 30th January and our out-of-hours cover and emergency phone number will be in operation.

Charity Shop - we need your help If you have some spare time, we could use your help in our Charity Shop. Any time you can give will be greatly appreciated - we would particularly like to hear from you if you are available on Wednesdays or Thursdays. For further information and an application form contact Steph Morris at the Charity Shop, Lorne Road, Waterloo Tel 928 6120. We are also in desperate need of donations, particularly men‟s, women‟s and children‟s clothing but please do not leave this outside the shop when we are closed as bags burst and can litter the street.

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Cumulative Performance up to 30/9/12

Are we on target?



Near Miss!

Emergency repairs that were completed within target time 33/ 33)



Urgent repairs that were completed within target time (98/98)



Routine repairs that were completed within target time (1123/1131)



Repairs that were completed right first time (229/232)



√ √ √ √

Local Offer performance update to 30th Sept 2012 Your Home Offer Properties with an up to date gas certificate 203/204)

Tenants satisfied with the repairs service (166/168) 99% 98.81% Near Miss! Involvement & Empowerment Offer The Scrutiny Panel met to contribute to the production of the annual report and this was launched at the Annual Open meeting on the 11th September. Feedback on the report has been almost universally positive, from 20 responses 19 said that they found the report useful or very useful, 1 said that they did not read it. 32 tenants have expressed an interest in becoming involved with CHA in a formal capacity and will be contacted prior to the next TAP meeting to discuss how this can be developed. We also had a small prize giving for the annual garden competition and several tenants received £50 of home improvement vouchers for their efforts. Our website continues to be updated regularly and carries information regarding current activities, helpful information and includes a copy of the most recent newsletter. Tenancy Offer Our sign up pack and new tenant visit procedure have been refreshed. We now give priority for transfers to CHA tenants affected by Welfare Reform Bedroom tax. New tenants complete a satisfaction survey at sign up and currently report 100% satisfaction with the process. Two properties have been re-let this quarter, one via Property Pool Plus, one via the CHA one bed waiting list. Average time it took to re-let empty properties

18 days

18 days

Neighbourhood and Communities Offer We remain concerned that the response and satisfaction rates for our communal services are low. We have encouraged people to tell us why and include satisfaction questionnaires in our quarterly newsletters. We will contact individual respondents who have contacted us regarding the communal services provision and discuss with them ways of improving the service Tenant satisfaction with communal cleaning (8/9)




Tenant satisfaction with gardening (9/9)



Tenant satisfaction with window cleaning (5/9)



Block Inspections (5/6)



X x

Neighbourhood Offer Our aim is to help to provide a safe and clean neighbourhood for our tenants to live in. We continue to do this in several ways but are reliant on the actions of other agencies that we work in partnership with to deliver these services. We have identified issues via the tenant‟s survey that indicates satisfaction levels are below target levels we will use this information and data to work with our partners to address the issues identified. Anti Social Behaviour Offer There have been 10 incidents of Anti Social Behaviour reported in the first quarter, each of these has been responded to within the target time of 5 days. There have been an additional 5 instances of ASB that have been reported in the 2nd quarter. Each has been responded to within the 5 days KPI target. All of the cases are in Seaforth. The anti social behaviour exhibited has predominantly been noise related and involved children over the summer holiday period. Prompt intervention of staff has resulted in no further incidences from perpetrators. There have been no reports of hate crime or other serious cases that have warranted response within 1 day. CHA have signed up to a data sharing agreement with Sefton Safer Communities Partnership to assist in the reduction of hate crime incidents and victimisation. Page 7

Christmas Recipe - Almost Shortbread Cookies Following a request from one of our tenants for a recipe suitable for diabetic dietary requirements, here is a festive treat from “The New Family Cookbook for People with Diabetes”. The recipe makes 24 cookies.

Ingredients · 2 cups plain flour · 1+1/2 teaspoons baking powder · 1/2 cup corn or canola oil · 1 large egg · 2 tablespoons sugar · 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a cookie sheet with non-stick pan spray. Combine all the ingredients and 1/4 cup water in a large bowl to form a soft dough. Refrigerate the dough 1 hour to chill. Roll or pat out 1/4 inch thick on a floured board. Cut 2-inch rounds/shapes and place them 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges are a light golden brown. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Out of hours Emergency Repair Service 0845 057 7096 If you would like this document in another language or format, or if you require the service of an interpreter, please contact us.


Office Address 10 Church Road, Waterloo, Liverpool L22 5NB Tel. 0151 920 7300 Fax 0151 949 0717 email

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CHA Newsletter Dec 2012  

Crosby Housing Association Newsletter December 2012

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