The government published its coronavirus recovery strategy on 11 May, setting out a roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions. On 31 May the government also issued new guidance for people in England who have been shielding during the coronavirus outbreak. This guidance states that vulnerable people should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing.
We know that housing associations have put a wide range of measures in place to support vulnerable people to safely self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak, including meal deliveries, collecting shopping or prescriptions, organising virtual social activities to combat loneliness and isolation, and delivering support services remotely.
Many supported housing members have told us that it’s still an ongoing crisis and they are not ready to safely open up schemes again. We know that some members plan to continue delivering aspects of their support services remotely for the foreseeable future.
We have been reassured by MHCLG that there is no expectation for housing associations to return to business as usual. we know this will take some time. We are expecting further guidance on the easing of lockdown for supported living schemes from Public Health England. In the meantime we have been told that supported housing providers should continue to ensure their operating procedures protect vulnerable residents and staff by minimising the risk of coronavirus transmission, through enhanced hygiene regimes, social distancing measures and the proper use of PPE.
We want to hear how the lockdown easing is impacting your organisation – please get in touch with any questions or concerns so we can share this feedback in our ongoing conversations with government departments.