Easing lockdown: information for housing associations

16 April 2021

On 22 February Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government’s roadmap for easing the national lockdown. We have summarised the announcements which affect housing associations.

These resource has been updated to reflect that we're now at step three of the roadmap.

Landlord and tenant guidance, home moves and evictions

Care homes and supported housing

Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • The safety of staff and residents is more important than ever.
  • Free provision of PPE to health and social care staff will continue until at least June 2021.
  • A stockpile equivalent to approximately 120 days’ usage at coronavirus levels will remain in the UK, to cushion any fluctuations in demand. 

Infection control in care and support settings

Visiting into and out of a care homes or supported living

Use of indoor spaces

  • Guidance on use of shared space stresses the ongoing need for strict cleaning regimes, good ventilation and compliance with rules on household mixing. The guidance states that "in sheltered and supported housing landlords and scheme managers should undertake their own local risk assessment, balancing the importance of measures that can assist residents’ wider well-being and independence and the need to have the right infection control measures in place."
  • Guidance on restaurants states that they can now open in supported or sheltered housing schemes for all residents and are subject to the same rules as all restaurants. Social distancing measures must be in place. See also the landlord and tenant guidance.
  • There is also guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities.

Vaccine rollout and community champions

  • The government is offering extra support to people and organisations who are able to help boost vaccine uptake in communities. It has allocated £23m to 60 local authorities and voluntary groups across England to fund a network of Community Champions.
  • Recognising that accessibility can be a factor, the NHS is supporting the work of local vaccination services to offer accessible services to all – such as a mobile delivery model for people who are housebound.
  • The NHS also has a plan promote vaccine uptake.
  • You can read more about testing and vaccines on our dedicated resource page

Testing information

Employer-led testing

  • Employers who registered before April 2021 can still get free lateral flow test kits for staff who cannot work at home through the Workplace Collect scheme and has now made testing available to the general population. Contact p-andpsector@dhsc.gov.uk for further information

  • If you are a small employer with fewer than 50 employees and would like to know how to access testing, contact CentralOps@dhsc.gov.uk.
  • If you are an employer with more than 50 employees and have questions relating to workplace testing, contact p-andpsector@dhsc.gov.uk.
  • For general queries about how these options for testing might work in practice for workforces in your organisation/sector, contact MHCLGTestingEnquiries@communities.gov.uk

Community-led testing

The Community Testing Programme run by local authorities will run until at least the end of June. Community Collect allows families, small businesses and the self-employed can take away rapid tests from some government and local authority sites. Test kits can also be collected from local pharmacies. Organisations wishing to use the Community Testing route should direct their employees to the postcode checker.

Economic support for individuals self-isolating

  • The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will continue into the summer, and includes parents who are unable to work because they are caring for a child who is self-isolating.
  • Local authorities are able to make discretionary additional payments and to ensure people self-isolating have access to practical support, such as food deliveries or help with their caring responsibilities.

Supporting people through coronavirus

Who to speak to

Sue Ramsden, Policy Leader