Page 1

December 2012

Do it

online Page 3

Meet the

newsletter team

You talked

we listened Page 10

Page 9

NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR TENANTS AND LEASEHOLDERS OF WOLVERHAMPTON HOMES


Welcome

to the December issue of Tenants Update.

It’s been a busy couple of months of festivities with Eid, Diwali, Navartri and now Christmas is just round the corner. I hope you’ve all been having fun. One of our tenants recently asked our Chair Sue Roberts if I write Tenants Update all by myself. This made me chuckle. Tenants Update is very much a team effort and you can read about how it’s put together on page 9.

Also in this issue you can see how our LEAP trainees are getting on, find out about Jason on page 3. On pages 10-11 you can find out about the service improvements that have been made as a result of you getting involved. It’s great to see the impact you can make. I’d like to thank you and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Ann Ramsbottom, editor, Tenants Update.

Get Togethers

Contact

Our Get Togethers give you the opportunity to meet with staff and discuss hot topics. The dates for our next two series of Get Togethers are:

• Check out www.wolverhamptonhomes.org.uk

January: • South: 23 January at Springvale Sports and Social Club from 6pm to 8pm. • North: 31 January at Low Hill Community Centre from 6pm to 8pm.

March: • Merry Hill: 13 March at St Josephs Church from 6pm to 8pm • Wednesfield: 20 March at St Patricks Church from 6pm to 8pm • Low Hill: 21 March at Low Hill Community Centre from 6pm to 8pm • Bilston: 27 March at St Chads Church Hall from 6pm to 8pm.

If you require this information in another language or format, contact us on 01902 556789.

2 Tenants Update December 2012

homes.direct@wolverhamptonhomes.org.uk Tweet us at www.twitter.com/WolvesHomes Join us at www.facebook.com/WolvesHomes • Call us on 01902 556789 • Text 60066 and start your text WHomes followed by a space • Call us out of hours for emergencies on 01902 552999 • Call us to report antisocial behaviour out of hours on 01902 558901

Front cover photo:

Thanks to the Tenants Update Editorial Panel for helping with the front cover photo. Left to right: Maureen Rudge, Darlene Dawkins and Roy Thomas.


ONLINE

LEAPING INTO WORK

Jason has an apprenticeship with the estate services team

Change your life with LEAP is our programme which helps unemployed tenants develop work related skills, training and experience. Nine tenants have now been taken on as apprentices, one of those is Jason Hill who is working with estate services. Jason said: “I think LEAP is absolutely fantastic. It not only helps people to better themselves, but it gives them confidence and empowers them to do something with their lives.

LEAP

ONLINE ACCOUNTS: Darlene loves being able to check her account.

It also shows that that people care and that there are people to help through your life.

“I’d recommend LEAP if you feel stuck and you don’t know what to do with your life. It will help build your confidence and give you skills. It’s brilliant.” If you’d like to join LEAP, come to our taster session to find out more.

Phone 01902 556789 or Email homes.org.uk. leap@wolverhampton

We want to make it easy for you to access our services 24/7 - whenever is convenient for you. One of the best ways you can do is by using our new online service called ‘Do it online’. The new service allows you to log into your account, manage your details and see your rent account and repairs. To access it, visit www.wolverhamptonhomes.org.uk and click on ‘do it online’. The first time you log on, you will need to register and a username and password will be sent out to you by post. This ensures that only you can access your account. Darlene Dawkins from Courtlands said:

“Wow - it’s absolutely amazing to be able to sit at home, access your account any time of day and report your repairs through the internet instead of over phone. This service really shows how much services and communications have progressed.” December 2012 Tenants Update 3


MONEY SMART

MONEYADVICE

Rent First ...Please Please remember, at this time of year, to make sure that you pay your rent and other priority bills. If you are struggling with debts and need advice please call 01902 556789 or visit www.wolverhamptonhomes.org.uk

MONEY SMART: The team are able to help with your money worries.

Meet the Money Smart Team

We want to offer you as much advice on how benefits are changing as we can so we have expanded our Money Smart Team. Our new Money Smart Officers are Jackie Coates, Adam Booth, Rosie Ward, Lorraine Kelsey and Sonia Gill. They join Chris Cash, and Money Smart Managers Nadine Law and Heather Leary.

If you need money advice or help with benefits just phone 01902 556789.

4 Tenants Update December 2012

WINNERS: Colin and Sylvia Povey won £75.

WIN! with

Direct Debit Colin and Sylvia Povey of Bradmore were the lucky winners of the August Direct Debit prize draw.

They won £75 vouchers for paying their rent by Direct Debit. Sign up to pay by Direct Debit and you could be the next winner, just phone 0800 408 0440.


BenefitChanges.

Welfare Reform

Our last few editions have given you a lot of information about the changes to benefits. We’ve had lots of questions through about this topic. When do the under-occupation changes take effect?

When will Universal Credit come in?

You will need to respond otherwise your benefits will stop.

The new size limit rules are due to take effect on 1 April 2013.

Universal Credit will replace income based working age benefits from October 2013 for new applicants and people whose circumstances have changed.

What can you do to help me?

Why are Wolverhampton Homes doing this to me? These changes are not being brought it in by Wolverhampton Homes. The Government introduced these changes in the Welfare Reform Act. I share the care of my children with my ex-partner, are we both entitled to a room for them? Where parents who don’t live together have shared care of their children, the children will be treated as living with the parent who is responsible for them and provides their main home. (Usually the person who is receiving Child Benefit for them). The parent who does not provide the main home will not be entitled to receive Housing Benefit for an extra room for their child/children. My child is away at university, can I keep their room for when they are home in the holidays? The new size limit rules do not allow for this, unless the absence is temporary (less than thirteen weeks or 52 weeks for students) and the young person concerned intends to return home.

We are still waiting to hear the date that all other claimants in Wolverhampton will move to Universal Credit. All other claimants will transfer at a date to be announced, between 2015 to 2017.

The Money Smart Team are contacting all tenants who are affected by the changes. We can help you work out how you will be affected and plan what steps you can take. This may involve moving into work, increasing your earnings, moving house, taking in a lodger or reducing your household costs.

If you are on benefits, you will be invited to apply for Universal Credit, with two reminders.

Council Tax

Benefit Changes

Wolverhampton City Council is asking for views on its new Council Tax Benefit Scheme. The national scheme is being abolished by the Government from April 2013. One proposal means that all WORKING AGE people will have to pay at least 8.5 per cent of their Council Tax bill and that Council Tax Support will no longer cover the bill in full. To find out more... www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/benefits

December 2012 Tenants Update 5


How can the Housing Inclusion team help you? If you’re having housing problems, our Housing Inclusion Team can support you with a wide range of issues. They can help if you are having problems managing your kids’ behaviour, or if your home is too big or too small.

They also help young tenants who have just moved into their first home, by teaching them about their tenancy responsibilities how to budget, cook and decorate. The team are: Charlotte Gibbons, Family Support Coordinator and Manager; Liz Banks, Family Support Officer; Elizabeth Kent, PreTenancy Support Officer and Claire Sands, Under-occupation & Overcrowding Officer and Steps to Success.

AM: MEET THE TElaire Liz, Charlotte, C n help. and Elizabeth ca

If you would like help from the team contact 01902 556789.

no space

How can we help?

Tom and Sandra’s story

too big small

Tom and Sandra Morris have seven children aged between 3–18 years. We had received complaints about noise nuisance and the number of visitors to their home.

A new home through

‘Speedmatching’ Low Hill tenants looking for an exchange met up at our Speed Matching event in November. The event was an opportunity for tenants wanting smaller homes to meet tenants who need bigger homes. They swapped photos of their homes to see the homes that were on offer for exchanges. Claire Sands, Underoccupation & Overcrowding Officer, said:

6 Tenants Update December 2012

“We arranged the Speedmatching day to help tenants find a new home. There are lots of ways to advertise an exchange but you don’t often get the opportunity to be in the same room with lots of possible exchangees. We hope to hold more of these events in other areas so please contact me if you would like to take part.”

Our Family Support Co-ordinator visited them and carried out an assessment. She worked with them over several weeks. One of the family’s main problems was the behaviour of their 15-yearold son, Robert and 14-year-old daughter, Jade. Our officer worked with the Youth Offending Team, the education department, and youth services to set up a plan to work with them to improve their behaviour. After 18 months the family are now settled. Their behaviour has improved and they have been rehoused into a bigger more appropriate property. (This is a real case but the names have been changed).


The Winning Garden

with e n i l n o t Ge

social media Are you wondering what ‘tweeting’ is about? Can’t tell a hashtag from your status update? Perhaps you’re already on Facebook want to set up a page for your community?

Green

Fingered Winners

It was a tough summer for gardeners everywhere with the wet weather we had. However everyone who entered our garden competition did themselves proud and gave the judges a very tough job. nnett Noni Be

This year’s winner was Robert Dunn of Wednesfield.

The children’s winner was Noni Bennett-Williams of Pendeford. This is the second time that she’s won the children’s competition. She delighted the judges with her pots of vegetables, all with detailed labels. She had even used old tins as pots to make her garden green in more ways than one. Well done to everyone who entered the competition and congratulations to the winners. Some of you may remember Albert Pountney of Wednesfield who was a frequent winner of the garden competition. We are sorry to inform you that he died earlier this year. Our thoughts are with his family. He will be missed.

Our social media surgeries can help. You will get one to one help on anything to do with social media. It’s friendly, informal and free. Linda Lewis went to the surgery at Low Hill and said: “I wanted help to set up a hotmail email and look at functions like sending, saving and deleting messages. I’m a lot happier now and I’m ready to go home and have a go.” The next surgeries are at: Blakenhall Healthy Living Centre on Wednesdays: 12 December at 10am, 16 January, 13 February and 13 March at 11am. Low Hill Community Centre on Thursday 13 December and 10 January at 10am.

Albert Pountney

GETTING ONLINE: Linda Lewis had help with her Hotmail account. December 2012 Tenants Update 7


A Chat with the

Concierge

can often give them advice on where to get help. Having daily contact with the residents is a really nice part of the job. Clair: What happens in the CCTV monitoring room? Ranjeet: We monitor what’s going on in the blocks and the estate, to make sure everyone is safe. We spot people responsible for fly-tipping and antisocial behaviour, log the issue and report it to the appropriate department. We can zoom in so that we can identify people and give the details to the police. We also receive calls on the door entry system from both tenants and visitors and deal with a variety of requests. We are always happy to handle the enquiry we receive.

In this issue, tenant Clair Wood from Stowlawn chats to Ranjeet Birdi, Concierge Officer, to find out more about the service. Clair: What does a concierge properly. If we find any repairs officer do? that we can’t fix ourselves, we report them to Homes Direct Ranjeet: We look after all the to issue to the repairs teams. high rise flats, monitor CCTV We also deal with antisocial cameras and the door entry system to make sure everyone behaviour and noise nuisance and have a lot of contact with is safe. We carry out checks the estate managers and for fire safety and health and police to discuss problems on safety each day as well as the estate. walk the estate to pick up litter. We check to see if the landings are clear of hazards and that all the doors close

8 Tenants Update December 2012

Our work means that we are in regular contact with the residents of the estate and

Clair: There’s going to be a change in service level, what does that mean? Ranjeet: Tenants were given a choice of different level of service they can receive from the concierge team. The different levels have different costs so if they opted for the basic service it would cost less than the full service. Almost 30% of the residents voted and they chose to receive either their current level of service or a cheaper option. Everyone has now had a letter telling them which service was chosen. The results will be debated by the Council and, subject to Council approval, the new service will start in April.


Meet the team behind

Tenants Update

“Hi, I’m Melvin. I’m a tenant of Wolverhampton Homes. I love living in Wolverhampton, it’s a great place to live, but what makes it so great? The people, the cultures, the parks, the Molineux Football Stadium and the Town Centre, to name a few! “Tenants Update is the voice of us tenants, without it we would not have a voice. So I really enjoy being part of the editorial panel. “The panel is made up of a team of tenants and staff. Anyone is welcome. We get together every quarter and share our story ideas. We look at things that are currently happening, are high on the agenda or could affect us nationally. It may be performance, repairs or events related. The panel talks about each story and decides what goes in. “We like to include stories that are about tenants. Anything that is interesting to other tenants with pictures to help tell the story. “Once we’ve agreed what is going in, we leave it to the communications team. We see the newsletter when it’s been put together so we can check it’s easy to understand and there’s no jargon. “After that it’s printed and posted out to you. We hope you enjoy it and remember, you can come along to the panel so you can help us make it even better.” If you would like to join the panel contact the Communications team on 01902 556789 or email communications@wolverhamptonhomes.org.uk.

How would you improve your estate? GARDEN PRIDE: Debbie Smith and Arthur Ward are happy with their new garden.

Do you want to improve your estate? The residents of Bromfield Court wanted their overgrown communal garden cut back. Leaseholder Debbie Smith, tells us their story. “It’s a lovely estate but we wanted some of the overgrown trees to be dealt with so we contacted Wolverhampton Homes. “They removed and cut back a lot of the trees and the old shrubs so we get a lot more light now. They planted some new shrubs and replaced the old fencing that was falling apart. “They also put some fences around the bin area so that we can’t see the bins when we drive onto the estate. It’s so much nicer now, it’s a complete transformation. I can feel proud of where I live.” If you feel your estate needs some landscape improvements, we might be able to help under our Winter Works programme. Contact your Estate Manager on 01902 556789. December 2012 Tenants Update 9


YOU TALKED WE LISTENED

Welcome to You Talked, We Listened – a summary of the difference that your involvement has made. It’s never been more important for customers to get involved in telling us what you think, as we try to improve services for you. Over the past few months there have been three big issues that you have been talking to us about. Here’s what you said and what we’re going to do.

Benefit Changes Help and Advice about Government changes to benefits. YOU told us that you were worried about changes to benefits and that tenants who are under pensionable age could end up in debt. YOU said we must make younger people aware of the changes and help them to manage their money.

10 Tenants Update December 2012

WE HAVE:

PLUS

• Started contacting every tenant who will be affected by welfare reform and offered them advice

• We will be hosting 2 city wide Get Together about welfare reform on 23 and 31 January, see page 2 for details. This will be an opportunity for any tenant to come and get advice about the changes, or about how to make online applications as well as to give us your views on a range of issues connected with these changes.

• Taken on five new members of staff, many of them in their 20s, to work in our Money Smart team. They will be available to help people of all ages with advice on managing money and dealing with welfare reform.


Minor Works £300,000

spent on estates citywide

Website

d YOU said you wante states. YOU wanted e r u o y to ts n e m e v impro it to be more WE will spend around £300,000 on minor works that have been suggested by tenants or local staff to help improve the estate they live or work on. There are around 70 schemes in the process of being completed this year. Here is a very small snapshot of just a few that have been completed since April this year.

• Parking in Kingsclere Walk Merry Hill: parking has been improved after a Minor Works bid was used to mark out parking bays. Now all the space in the street that is available for parking can be used.

• Safety in one area of Bilston: local pedestrians complained about Whitmore Reans speeding bikes saying it was a (serious) accident • Security in Oxley, waiting to happen. A Fallings Park and bid was put in to create Whitmore Reans: a chicane to prevent security fencing and bikes from speeding gates have helped make down the alley. This was residents feel more completed in June. confident and proud of their area.

Bilston

• Improved Area In Wednesfield North: bow top fencing has improved the appearance of areas in Parry Road, Griffiths Drive and Peacock Avenue.

interactive!

YOU said wanted a more interactive website – you said that it would be good to be able to track your rent account and repairs online from the privacy of your own homes and to be able to update your personal details when you needed to. WE now offer this to all tenants and in the future we hope to be able to introduce booking your own appointment online. If you are not familiar with going online we offer a lot of FREE help and training, including how to use the internet and using the internet to access your rent account. If you are interested in this type of training or in any of our other courses from DIY to Budgeting to personal effectiveness please contact Tenant Engagement Team on 01902 556789.

December 2012 Tenants Update 11


WOLVERHAMPTONHOMES

Tenancy

You told us that you wanted us to do more to tackle housing fraud, such as keeping a property but living somewhere else. So in 2010 we set up a dedicated fraud team. They compare and share information to detect fraud. Since the team was set up: 101 properties have been recovered from fraudsters and the properties have been re-let to people in genuine need of housing. If you suspect housing fraud, you can report it to us anonymously. Phone 01902 556789 or visit www. wolverhamptonhomes. org.uk and search ‘fraud’.

12 Tenants Update December 2012

Low Hill new website Live in Low Hill and want to hear about the latest events and news? Check out the new Low Hill website. The site has been put together by tenant George MarstonGallear and resident Tony Blakeway. George said: “The website was set for the community by the community. We set it up to give people an insight into what the local community is doing. We are currently working on a history page which allows the younger members of our community to see what has happened in the past in their local area. “We also want to show the community what’s on offer at our community centre, now and in the future. “We feel it is important for people who don’t have access to computers to be able to communicate with friends and family. It can help with isolation and loneliness.

To find out more visit http://lowhillcommunityassociation. wordpress.com or Facebook.com/ LowHillCommunityAssociation

Your Rent

In April the amount of rent you need to pay will change. Your rent and service charges are set in consultation with tenants and residents so thank you if you came along and gave your views. The Council’s policy is to keep rents within the Government’s guidelines. There are two elements to setting rents

• A cost-of-living increase • A `target rent’ is set for your home by the Government. This is based on the national average rent, average local earnings, property value and number of bedrooms. The idea is that rents will slowly be increased over the next 4 years which will then bring all rents into line. You’ll receive a letter in February telling you your new rent and if you have any problems please contact us on 01902 556789.


WARMHOME

Warm Home

Discount Scheme

Discount Scheme If you receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you could get a £130 discount on your electricity bill through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. You will qualify for this scheme if: • you were aged over 80 on 21 July 2012 or • you were under 80 on 21 July and do not receive Saving credit.

• your name, your partner’s name or your appointee’s name is on your electricity bill • your energy supplier is participating in the scheme.

Bills Warm Homes, Lower

Energy Advice Surgeries Find out how to stay warm and save money on your gas, electricity and water bills this winter at our Energy Advice Surgeries. These free sessions will help you to switch your fuel supplier, give you information on our PlugIn project, Energy Monitor Loan Scheme and home energy visits. You don’t need an appointment, just drop in.

Low Hill: Wednesday 9 January from 10am to 3pm

Bilston: Monday 7 January from 10 am to 3pm

For more information call the Climate Change Team on 01902 556789 or visit their Facebook page ‘Energy Wise with Wolverhampton Homes’.

Market Street (City Centre): Tuesday 8 January from 10am to 3pm

Wednesfield: Thursday 10 January from 10am to 3pm Merry Hill: Friday 11 January from 10am to 3pm

The government will write to you if you are eligible for the discount and tell you what you need to do. If you get a letter asking you to call the helpline, you must call before 13 March 2013. If you don’t call you won’t be able to get the discount. So please don’t forget. Don’t worry, the Warm Home Discount Scheme will not affect any Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment you may receive. You do not need to call now to get your discount. If you have a general query regarding the scheme call the Warm Home Discount Scheme Help Line. Call 0845 603 9439 (Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 6.00 pm).

TOP TIP If you’re not a pensioner on a low income, you may still be eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Each energy supplier has different criteria, so contact your supplier to check whether you’re eligible.

December 2012 Tenants Update 13


GETTING INVOLVED

WFTA

‘Working Together’ event report The Wolverhampton Federation of Tenants Associations (WFTA) held an event ‘Working Together’ in September at the Molineux stadium. Social housing providers and their tenants in Wolverhampton came together to discuss the challenges faced and to share good practice. The event in September was introduced by Councillor Peter Bilson and included talks from our Chief Executive Lesley Roberts and our Chair of the Board Sue Roberts. Lal Salter from WFTA said: “Tenants from Wolverhampton and officers from housing associations from across the county were in attendance as well as council tenants and officers from Wolverhampton City Council and members of Tenant Management Organisations.

Topics discussed included changes to benefits and the ‘bedroom tax’, and the impact these changes will have on tenants. There was concern by housing providers about the impact on income because of the changes and how this may affect future services. The feedback from the event was extremely positive and tenants welcomed the opportunity to come together to discuss the issues.”

14 Tenants Update December 2012

Food Glorious Food

The Heath Town Tenants and Residents Association (HTTRA) have been busy not only their own events but also providing catering for other events, including the Wednesfield Get Together.

Zoe Farifia from HTTRA said: “Our catering business is in its infancy. We love cooking and want to provide catering with a difference. Our food is guaranteed to be enjoyable and we can accommodate anyone. We tried the rest, we are creating the best.” If you would like HTTRA to quote for the catering for your event contact Gloria on 07979 934524.


Join our

Review Panel

Review Panel

We are looking for tenants to join the Review Panel as shadow members. The Review Panel checks that we are keeping our promises to tenants, ensures that tenants are fully involved in decisions and makes recommendations directly to the Board.

If you are interested please contact Grant Sproston for more information and an application form on 01902 551046. The closing date for applications is Friday 11 January 2013.

Social Media

Bilston goes social Bilstonians there is now a Facebook page just for you.

Tenant ambassadors Adam DeWitt-Bukater and Daniel Steadman have set up the WVFourteen page with news, events and competitions. Adam said “We wanted a place for news stories and events taking place within Bilston. We’d love other people to get involved. So if you know of any news stories, things that you feel the community should know about, or would like to make an event public, then please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.”

Facebook.com/WVFourteen or on Twitter @WVFourteen December 2012 Tenants Update 15


WOLVERHAMPTONHOMES

One City Many Cultures The Wolverhampton Federation of Tenants’ Associations, All Cultures One Voice, the City Council and Wolverhampton Homes recently held an event called ‘One City Many Cultures’ on 22 October to celebrate the diverse cultures that live in our City.

SAFE: Cllr Steven Evans launches the safe place scheme at Wednesfield.

Making Wolverhampton a Safe Place People with disabilities should feel safe in their own community, but sometimes this isn’t the case. However if someone with a disability feels threatened or confused, they can now feel safe, through the ‘safe place’ scheme. They can go into any shop or business that displays the ‘safe place’ knowing that there will be a staff member to help them. All of our One Stop Shops are Safe Places and look out for the logo at other shops in Wolverhampton. 16 Tenants Update December 2012

Attendees listened to guest speakers, watched theatre company AftaThought and took part in breakout sessions. The event was a great success with over a 100 people attending. For more information, visit www.wfta.org.uk Pictured left to right, back row Councillor Peter Bilson and Jatinder Matharu from Wolverhampton City Council and Nigel Homer from Wolverhampton Homes. Front row John Pemberton from the Wolverhampton Federation of Tenants Associations and Eddie Grizzle from All Cultures One Voice.

Equalities Champions Working in the Community We want to put equality and diversity at the heart of everything we do so we have set up a group of staff called “Equality Champions”. Here is a summary of the issues they have been working on: • During International Women’s Week in March, we held ‘build your skill sessions’, with basic DIY skills training and financial advice for tenants. • Taking part in the first ‘Pride’ Event held in Wolverhampton. • Raising money to support the Haven by promoting ‘Empurple day, baking cakes, wearing purple etc. • Working with specialist organisations to provide a greater awareness of the work they do, share good practice and share real experiences with us, including LGBT, Gender Matters, Disability One Voice, EYES, Ethnic Minority Council, Wolverhampton Network Consortium, Interfaith and Regeneration Network.


Q&A

Wolverhampton with Homes ch.

please get in tou d re e sw n a e k li ’d u n yo If you have a questio es.org.uk, m o h n to p m a rh e lv o ns@w Email communicatio Facebook page r u o n o it st o p r o 9 call 01902 55678 ip on page 20. sl ly p re e th in d n se or ylde of W h a r a S said: e r o m d Bra

Venia Bwititi of Wednesfield said: “I think all the services are great. Apart from that I am stuck in a 2 bedroom flat with 2 children a boy 9 years and a girl 5 years.”

Wolverhampton Homes:

be k could ce n i h t I ly thing be more noti The on ld ed wou coming ‘Get improv p ts on u l community n a n e t a to ’ at loc s r have e h t e would Tog y e h t , so ce. centres ates in advan ld severa :

It is very difficult situation, there is a huge demand for family accommodation and not enough housing to meet that demand. The best thing you can do is keep bidding each week and use as many of your bids as possible. But only bid on homes that you are eligible for and that you would actually accept. Make sure you keep your options open and: • Bid in a wide range of areas. • Bid in areas where we have lots of homes.

• Bid in areas where lots of homes become available to let. • Bid in areas where there are lower numbers of other bidders.

You can find out all of this information in the ‘Results of previous lettings’ report on the Homes in the City website. The other thing you could consider is looking at other ways to move. You could try to find an exchange or bid on housing association homes It’s also worth knowing that under the new benefit rules, from April 2013, children under the age of ten, of any sex, will be expected to share a room. If they have separate rooms, the government will say that you have a spare room and will reduce your benefit by 14%. Anyone who is on benefits, in this situation, may want to wait until their eldest child is ten before they move. If they move before then, they would need to pay the part of the rent that isn’t covered by their benefits. Anyone who needs advice on applying for housing, an exchange or the new benefit rules can contact us on 01902 556789.

Homes n o t p m ha Wolver

We ting this. ok s e g g u s to bo ou for Thank y trying really hard er in en have be nd venues furth lude a c s ble to in ers a the date e r e w . We geth advance e recent Get To ts h an ft details o wo issues of Ten tt n’t in the las we realise it did e t bu his tim Update notice. T for h c u m give you oked the dates r bo we have ear. The dates fo y d le the who d March are liste e an t th January u can ge er o y d n a 2 temb on page and Sep an e n u J r dates fo ebsite, so you c w from our your diary. in get them

December 2012 Tenants Update 17


How are we doing?

Here’s a round up of how we have done between July and September 2012

Antisocial Behaviour We take cases of Antisocial Behaviour are always very seriously. 89% were very or fairly satisfied with the way their antisocial behaviour complaint was dealt with. This is met our 80% target. 86% were very or fairly satisfied with the outcome of their antisocial behaviour complaint. This is also met our 75% target.

Decent Homes

We have completed 17,700 homes in total and beat our half year target of 670, completing 720. The Government have now confirmed the remaining funding so the programme in the Yellow Book will be completed as planned. We experienced some difficulty in completing properties in the East Park area within our 20 day timescale, but are pleased to inform you that we are now back on target. Employment is a high priority for us so nearly 17% of employees on the project are trainees, this is well above our 10% target. 34% of employees on the project live within the city boundaries, which is above our 30% target.

Empty

properties and lettings The average time to relet our empty properties was 16 days which is within our 18 day target. Rent lost through empty properties is 1.6%, which is slightly higher than the previous period. This is above our 1.3% target and is largely due to the redevelopment of some high rise blocks. Over 86% of tenancies offered were accepted first time. This is well above our 80% target. 18 Tenants Update December 2012

Rents

Rent collection has started slowly following last year’s record outturn. At 97.28% we are just below our target of 97.65%. The percentage of tenants owing over seven weeks rent is within our 1.75% target at 1.64% (lower is better) which is excellent performance. We now have 28.66% of tenants paying by our preferred method of payment - Direct Debit. Our end of year target is 30% and we should achieve this. This payment option is less expensive for us and makes paying your rent easier by not having to wait in queues. Contact 0800 408 0440 if you would like to set up a Direct Debit.

Customer Care Homes Direct answered 58.2% of your calls in 30 seconds, below our target of 75%. This was due the high number of calls during the heavy rain and a technical problem which caused an influx of calls when the service was up and running again. The number of calls abandoned rose slightly to 5.9% which is above our 5% target. 92.5% of complaints have been dealt with inside our timescales and this is below our 95% target.

Repairs 98.95% of response repairs have been completed within their timescales. This is above our target of 98.5%. 93% of appointments were kept during the period, which is short of our 96% target. This has improved by nearly 3% on the previous period. The number of properties with a valid gas certificate is still performing excellently at 99.93%. This is comfortably above our 99.6% target.


Mats, Mats, Mats Who can believe that doormats would be so desirable that they would be stolen?! We discovered some of our large doormats for communal lobbies on sale at Bilston Market last year. We couldn’t believe that someone could steal them without anyone seeing them (they are pretty big!) and then would have the brass neck to sell them in public. Thank you to all the dozens of tenants who reported this to us. Please keep your eye out and if you see anyone acting suspiciously report them to us on 01902 556789.

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DECEMBER 2012

Winter Word search competition and winners There are two prizes up for grabs - one for the under fives and one for 5-10 year olds. You could win ÂŁ20 in a First Savers Credit Union Account. In September, Bianna Morris from Whitmore Reans scooped the prize for the 5-10 year olds and Darren Jamal from Heath Town won the prize for the under fives. W Z V Q Q C E F I R E W O R K S

I R E W Z D Y W R C G C E W T W

N C E I A P U R T H A N K F U L

T V W S D R R E W D R W G D H R

E R V M W W S E E U E Q H F X E

R W Q R C H R I S T M A S Y Z Y

W V B E R C K X Z E W H I T U Q

T N Y E Y V F Z A U N Y U W E L

Y R D R U A E B W R Y T J E W I

F E I D B E S A N T A T S R O G

E E W D Z R T E B Q E E H T P H

A W A B W E I Q N W D R N X J T

S Q L U M Z V R Y T R E E Z H S

T X I I P A E V T M S B Y A N T

Winter Christmas Diwali Eid Fireworks Presents Santa Lights Festive Thankful Tree Feast

Name: Age: Address: Postcode: Telephone: December 2012 Tenants Update 19


Christmas Opening Hours

Homes Direct and our Market Street, Bilston and Wednesfield shops will be open as follows over the Christmas period: Friday 21 December 8.30am – 4.30pm Saturday 29 December CLOSED Saturday 22 December CLOSED Monday 31 December 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday 24 December CLOSED Tuesday 1 January CLOSED Tuesday 25 December CLOSED Wednesday 2 January 8.30am – 6.00pm Wednesday 26 December CLOSED Our Merry Hill, Low Hill and Heath Town Thursday 27 December 8.30am – 5.00pm shops will close on Friday 21 December and Friday 28 December 8.30am – 5.00pm reopen on Wednesday 2 January 2013.

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Quiz time

DECEMBER 2012

Complete our quiz for a chance to win up to £100* in a Credit Union Account. Find out all the answers in this issue. *The prize is £50 in a Wolverhampton City Credit Union account, set up in your name, to be increased to £100 on the 6 month anniversary of opening of account. 1. How many tenants have been helped by LEAP? 2. Where are we holding social media surgeries? 3. How many people are in the Money Smart Team? 4. Who can be helped by our Speedmatching events? 5. How much do we spend each year on minor works to improve your areas? The lucky winner of the September issue competition was Jillian Harvey of Wednesfield

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Return to: Communications, Wolverhampton Homes, Chillington Fields Industrial Estate, Off Hickman Avenue, Wolverhampton, WV1 2BY. 20 Tenants Update December 2012

Tenants Update December 2012  

News and information for tenants and leaseholders of Wolverhampton Homes

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