CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE: Information for tenants and clients

The safety and wellbeing of our community are our top priority and our goal is to continue to deliver services.

Unison is carefully monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic to understand the impacts on our community, services and activities. Based on guidance from the Australian and State Governments and health authorities, we are making some changes to the way we work to protect you, our staff and the community.

Please read the important updates for our tenants and IAP clients below. Note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and we will update this page regularly with the latest information related to our services. We encourage you to check in regularly.

 

   


Quick links:

 

 

   

For information in languages other than English, please visit 

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/translated-resources-coronavirus-disease-covid-19 

A factsheet on how to ‘Reduce your risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) is now available in 49 languages

A video from the Chief Health Officer showing our community ‘how to safely wear a mask’ is also available in various languages.

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR OUR TENANTS

 

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→ Be cautious about covid-19 scams

DHHS has reported that scammers are pretending to be Government agencies providing Covid-19 information via text and emails. Scams include false notifications of close contacts to confirmed coronavirus cases which contain malicious links and attachments designed to steal personal and financial information when they are opened.  

Please be cautious and remain alert to scams. Government agencies will not ask you to click an email link or open an attachment. The COVIDSafe app will not notify any person directly that they are a confirmed case or the contact of one - only a DHHS public officer would.  

If you suspect that you have been a target of a scam or are unsure, go to  https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam

 

 

→ Changes to our service delivery

To reduce the health risks to the community and on advice from the government, we moved primarily to a phone service in March. Our teams continue to support you, and your Place Manager remains your key contact at Unison. You can contact your Place Manager over the phone. All phone numbers are available on our Contact page.

 

 

→ Repairs and maintenance

From Wednesday 28 October, we have resumed the processing of requests for non-urgent maintenance. There is a back log of works that could not be conducted during stage 4 restrictions, so we ask for your patience as we work through those. All our contractors will practice CovidSafe principles, including physical distancing, wearing mask, and washing hands regularly.


For maintenance requests, please follow the usual process:

  • For long-term tenants (social and affordable housing): Call (03) 9349 0261 (24/7) or email maintenance@unison.org.au (for non-urgent repairs only).
  • For public housing tenants: Call the DHHS Maintenance Call Centre on 13 11 72 (24/7) or request non-urgent repairs via email at tenant.maintenance@dhhs.vic.gov.au
  •  For tenants in our Transitional Housing program: Call your Unison housing worker on (03) 9688 8300 during business hours. For all urgent maintenance after hours, weekends and public holidays, please phone the DHHS Maintenance Call Centre on 13 11 72.


Please follow these simple steps to minimise maintenance issues:

 

 

Keep your fob/keys on you at all times when leaving your unit.

Take care of your property (careful use and regular cleaning).

Open doors and windows to allow airflow where possible.

Use ovens in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Use cook tops in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and with exhaust fans/rangehoods on.

 

Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet as this will cause blockages.

Don’t tip oils or fats down the sink, these can cause blockages.

Don’t overload power points (no connecting power boards together to create more sockets).

Don’t leave appliances and lights on when not in use or needed.

 

 

 

 

→ What to do if there is a change in your financial circumstances?

We are committed to providing you with safe, long-term housing. The impact of COVID-19 has been felt everywhere. We understand that some of our tenants may have reduced hours of work and that some may have lost employment. If this is impacting you, please contact your Place Manager as soon as possible so that we can assist you to find a solution. Your Place Manager will also be able to provide you with information on where you can get assistance with food or other needs.

If you are on Centrelink, Unison has decided to exclude the Centrelink Covid-19 supplement from rent calculations as we recognise the additional stress experienced by people on low incomes.

Unison will continue to collect and monitor rent payments closely. This will be a focus as we rely on rental income for the continuation of cleaning, maintenance and other services. Further, we do not want tenants to accumulate arrears that will create additional financial stress. We strongly encourage you to contact your Place Manager if you are experiencing difficulty with your rent payments. 

Find out more about rent on our FAQ page.

 

 

→ What we ask of you

Stay home and get tested if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) no matter how mild: including fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of sense of smell or taste. Go to the DHHS testing map for locations.

A new Call-to-Test service will provide in-home coronavirus testing to people who would otherwise be unable to get tested. This includes older people, people with a disability, carers and those with an illness that might prevent them from leaving home. For eligible callers located in Melbourne, testers will visit within 48 hours.

If you are waiting for the results of your coronavirus (COVID-19) test, please self-isolate until your receive the test results and let us know if you test positive so we can ensure you have the assistance you need.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you or anyone in your household is in self-isolation, is feeling unwell, or has been in contact with anyone who tested positive or is in the process of being tested for the virus. This will help ensure we take appropriate measures.

Visit https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/self-quarantine-coronavirus-covid-19 for further advice on who should quarantine and who should isolate.

Remember to wear a face mask when leaving your home and wash your hands often.

 

 Please take care, take the precautions advised by government, and reach out if you need assistance.

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR OUR IAP CLIENTS

 

 

→ Changes to our service delivery

We wish to assist as many people as possible. To do this and reduce the health risks to everyone around COVID-19, our Seddon and Werribee offices are closed and we are now operating as a phone service only.

If you are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, please reach out by phone on 1800 825 955 (free call) or email us at iap@unison.org.au


We are here to help and are available on the phone from 9am to 5pm, weekdays. Note that we are not available on weekends and public holidays. For assistance outside of these hours, please call the St Kilda Crisis Centre on 1800 627 727 (free call).

 

Please take care, take the precautions advised by government, and call us for help.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND THE COMMUNITY

 

 

→ Mental health and wellbeing

This is a difficult and uncertain time for all so support is vital and available. For more information on managing stress and support options, call the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services on 1800 512 348.

Financial support is also available. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment is being increased to $450. You can find more information on The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment.

The ‘Partners in Wellbeing’ hotline has extended their operating hours to 10pm on weekdays. Additional support for business owners is now available through access to business advisors and financial counsellors. Hotline number: 1300 375 330.

 

 

→ Keep informed of the latest update

We encourage you to look after yourself, your family and the community. 

Please follow the community health advice and keep informed of the latest update by visiting dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus or calling the Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 675 398 (free call, 24/7).

Information is also available in other languages: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/translated-resources-coronavirus-disease-covid-19 and https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

 

 

→ I am feeling unwell, what should I do?

Stay home and get tested if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) no matter how mild: including fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of sense of smell or taste. Go to the DHHS testing map for locations.

If you have a fever, cough, or trouble breathing, call your GP or the Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 675 398.
If you are feeling seriously unwell and it is an emergency, call 000 immediately.

A new Call-to-Test service will provide in-home coronavirus testing to people who would otherwise be unable to get tested. This includes older people, people with a disability, carers and those with an illness that might prevent them from leaving home. For eligible callers located in Melbourne, testers will visit within 48 hours.

Note that support is available if you are unable to go out to shop for essentials or receive medical care. Contact your Place Manager to find out more.

 

 

→ Restrictions in place

Visit DHHS to keep up-to-date on Victoria’s current restriction levels.  

The Stay Safe Directions came into force at 11.59pm on 27 October 2020 and replaced The Stay at Home Directions. Concretely, we have no restrictions on the reasons to leave home but we are still asked to limit interactions with others and there are restrictions on gatherings and travel.

Remember that everyone must wear a face mask when they leave home, unless they have a lawful exception. Please note that you may be fined if you do not adhere to the Government’s restrictions.

If you are expecting a delivery, please ask the delivery driver to leave it at the front door of the office for you to collect it – unless you have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or are self-isolating.

 

   

→ Gatherings restricted

Public outdoor gatherings are limited. You can now have visitors to your home, but only up to 2 people from one household per day. visit https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmaps for more details. 

For people living in regional Victoria, please visit DHHS website for the latest update.

Be mindful of physical distancing and avoid common areas (kitchens, laundries, lifts etc) that are already busy and where it would not be possible to maintain 4sqm per person restrictions. No more than two people or one household should be in common areas of Unison buildings, like kitchens, laundries and lifts. When there is already two people in a common area, please leave and come back later.

 

 

→ Follow the health advice to stop the spread

All residents, clients and staff should follow the government directions as follows:

  • Stay safe and limit interactions with others
  • Keep a full arm-span (about 1.5 metres) between yourself and other people where possible
  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue
  • If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep, don’t smoke.

 

Protect yourself and your community

 

This page was last updated on 27 October 2020.