How to get support & also help your Ocean community during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ocean communities supporting each other through the COVID-19 crisis

We have always known that Cornwall is home to some very special and inspirational communities and residents.

But since the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus we have all been touched by the generosity and support shown by our residents, staff and all across Cornwall – a massive ‘thank you’ must go to all of Cornwall’s keyworkers and those supporting by carrying out essential tasks in the correct way.

On this page we will be sharing links and advice on how our residents can get the right support that they may need, and how we can all work together to help support our communities and neighbours during this pandemic.

Firstly, however, it is important to outline the most essential thing that we must all do to protect each other; stay home, stay safe and save lives.

We must all be a considerate neighbour during the COVID-19 pandemic

Gina Cutler, head of Neighbourhood Services at Ocean Housing, has issued the following advice for residents:

“In these difficult times, the majority of our residents are staying at home in line with Government instruction, to prevent the spread of coronavirus. During this period of ‘lockdown’ residents and their families have to remain at home.

“It is really important that everyone displays more tolerance towards our neighbours. It is likely that you will be aware of, and hear more noise, from neighbouring properties during this time.

She added: “We would ask all Ocean residents to be respectful towards their neighbours and communities. Please keep noise to a minimum, certainly between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

“These are difficult times for all of us. We would all benefit from showing a bit of give and take, and goodwill towards other residents living close by.

“On behalf of Ocean, I would like to thank each and every resident that is cooperating with this ‘new normal’ and social-distancing, and urge everyone to come together.”

You should only be leaving the house for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities (for example food and medicine) which must be done as infrequently as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day (for example a run, walk, or cycle) alone or with members of your household
  • Any medical need or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work – only where this cannot be done from home

We have received a number of messages from residents informing us that people living nearby have not been complying with these guidelines.

At Ocean we do not have any direct powers to enforce these guidelines and social-distancing. Nevertheless, police are able to order people to go home, leave an area or disperse and can issue fines.

To find out more on how Devon and Cornwall Police enforcing new laws, and to learn how to report crimes and potential violations, visit their website.

After all, it is incredibly important that each and every one of us follows these guidelines. We must all do our bit to support our neighbours and communities, especially now.

Benefits that can be claimed following disruptions to financial circumstances due to COVID-19

If you are not currently claiming benefits and have experienced financial problems because of the coronavirus outbreak, you may be able to claim some of the following financial help.

Universal Credit

This is a monthly payment to help with living costs including rent, for people of a working age.

To apply you must go online, visit; www.universal-credit.service.gov.uk

If you need any help applying you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau’s Help to Claim Service on 0800 144 8444 for telephone based support.

Housing Benefit

For those of pensionable age or in receipt of/ entitled to the severe disability premium, this is a four weekly payment to help with rent.

To apply you can go online, visit; www.cornwall.gov.uk/advice-and-benefits/benefits/ or phone 0300 1234 121

Discretionary Housing Payment, Council Tax Support, Exceptional Relief Award or Crisis and Care

For to find out more about any of the above please head to www.cornwall.gov.uk/advice-and-benefits/benefits

For telephone based support you can phone 0300 1234 121

If you are already in receipt of benefits and your household income has been affected by coronavirus, please report the changes to your relevant benefits agency.

Support and advice for shared owners with mortgages

Most mortgage lenders are offering repayment holidays which may help you to sustain your rent payments during this time, particularly in the absence of any other financial assistance or limited income.

Whilst mortgage repayment holidays are available, you should only apply for one where it is absolutely necessary to do so. This is because it could affect your monthly mortgage payment after the repayment holiday has ended, or it may increase the term of your mortgage and it will almost certainly increase the total interest payable overall.

If you are looking to apply for a mortgage repayment holiday, then you should speak with your mortgage lender first to understand what this would mean for you.

More ways to get advice and support on your accounts

Loraine Hoar, Customer Accounts manager at Ocean, added: “We know that this is a difficult time for many of our tenants, however we can support you to claim any benefits that you may be entitled to claim, if you have been effected by illness, self-isolation, or school or work closures.

“If you have had a change of circumstances and you are already claiming universal credit or housing benefit, it’s important that you update them and continue to pay your rent as normal.

“We are here to help you through this and have specialist team members who can offer debt advice and complete benefit calculators to establish what you may be entitled to.”

To view your rent account, go online via My Ocean or download the Ocean Housing app via the App Store or Play Store.

If you would like to discuss your rent accounts or payments, please contact your Customer Accounts advisor on 01726 874450 or email help@oceanhousing.com

Foodbank support

The coronavirus outbreak has been a testing time for foodbanks across Britain. Currently, however, most of Cornwall’s foodbanks are still supporting those in need with emergency food supplies and will continue to do so for as long as they are able.

Click here to find a foodbank near you

If you require a foodbank voucher, please contact Ocean Housing on 01726 874450 or email help@oceanhousing.com We may be able to submit an email request to the relevant foodbank location.

Upon collection, please follow the social distancing guidelines to protect both yourselves and the volunteers at the foodbank. If you are self-isolating and someone is going to collect on your behalf, please advise Ocean Housing of this as it will need to be included on the referral.

Useful links and additional external support for families and individuals

Accurate and updated information on COVID-19 coronavirus:

Extra support for families in Cornwall:

More benefits and employment information:

Physical & Mental Health: Managing your well-being during COVID-19 coronavirus:

Groups, volunteers, businesses and charities in Cornwall offering support during coronavirus

Also, be sure to keep checking our Ocean Housing information about COVID-19 coronavirus page for the latest details, advice and updates to our way of working.

Thank you, and stay safe.

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