Easthall Park Housing Co-operative hails positive difference made to community throughout COVID-19

Easthall Park Housing Co-operative has hailed the positive difference it has made to the community during the last twelve months of the coronavirus pandemic.

As with many communities, the Co-operative saw a rise in people affected by job losses, poor health, social isolation and increased cost of living. Easthall Park said it is in the great position of having the support of its principal partner Easthall Residents Association which has remained active in the community throughout the pandemic by supporting local residents with food vouchers and gas and electricity top-ups.

Easthall staff have been proactive in supporting residents throughout. In particular, its housing officers and welfare rights advisors have been helping residents navigate through it all whilst providing support to deal with the increasing pressures on their income and negotiating rent arrears repayments.

In one case, housing officer Shirley worked with a tenant with a young family who had fallen into rent arrears at the beginning of the pandemic. The tenant had lost their job and described the impact as “spiralling out of control”. The housing officer sought help from the Aberlour Children’s Charity through the Urgent Assistance Fund and was successful in securing a grant to support the family.

Shirley said: “It was fantastic being able to access the service of Aberlour who share our commitment and passion for ‘making a difference’ to this family’s life, now they are able to move on and ‘make a difference’.”

The tenant was also referred to Easthall’s new Employability and Personal Development Adviser; support was offered with job searching, training advice and building a CV. The tenant has since reported that they were successful in securing permanent employment for their “dream job”.

The tenant has been through a very difficult time in the last year and has described that “asking for help has always been hard for me to do but weeks later my life has changed for the better and I certainly couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help and support. Knowing that my home is safe and I’m grateful that the kids can see me with a smile on my face and a positive outlook on everything.”

The Co-operative said it recognises that in order to be more than a landlord and offer the support community needs, working together with its partners and support agencies achieves the best outcomes for Easthall tenants and residents.

During the pandemic Easthall Residents Association has:

  • Distributed 5,061 comfort parcels.
  • Cooked and given out 26,453 hot meals.
  • Supported 194 households with gas & electricity top-ups.
  • Issued 60 tablets to children and members of the community who were shielding.

Joe Gracey, chair of Easthall Park, said: “I am delighted that we were able to support this tenant in such a positive way. We always aim to go above and beyond as a landlord and this is an excellent example of this.

“The last 12 months have been extremely difficult and we are very grateful for all the continued support and involvement our community receives from Easthall Residents Association. We will continue to work with Easthall Residents Association and all our residents ensuring their needs are front and centre at all times.”

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