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:

 

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR OUR TENANTS

 

   

→ 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

 

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→ Changes to our service delivery

To reduce the health risks to the community and on advice from the government, we have changed the way we work by moving primarily to a phone service. Our office at 660 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne remains open, by appointment only, for urgent matters.

While our offices may be closed, 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.

 

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→ Repairs and maintenance

The usual processes are in place to report a repair or maintenance issue:

  • 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. 

 

Note that there may be instances where there are delays in responding to maintenance requests. For example, if you lock yourself out or damage property, it may be difficult to have a contractor and/or a Unison representative attend to help.

As this unprecedented situation continues to progress, response times from our teams may be a bit slower than usual, but be assured that we will respond as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

We will do everything we can to ensure your safety and comfort but 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.

 

 

 

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→ 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.

 

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→ What we ask of you

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 the appropriate measures if we need to send out contractors to your home.

 

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

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR OUR IAP CLIENTS

 

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→ 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

 

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→ 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?

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.

 

 

→ If you can stay home, you must stay home

As part of the Stage 3 Restrictions, the Victorian Government is directing everyone to stay at home, restricting sporting, cultural, recreational and commercial activities to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Basically, you are asked to stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising, travelling to work or education, or visiting family or friends. Note that this is compulsory and you may be fined if you are leaving your home for reasons outside the ones stating by government

Check out this FAQ for more details.

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.

 

   

→ Gatherings restricted

The number of people who can gather continues to be restricted.

People who live in long-term housing can now have up to five visitors (family and friends) in their home. This is in addition to members of the immediate household but should remain an exception.

Tenants should continue to avoid large gatherings in common areas of buildings, like laundry facilities, lifts etc. If there are ten people, already present, or if physical distancing cannot be maintained, please come back later.

For people living in rooming houses, the rules around no visitors continue to be in place.

 

 

→ Follow the health advice to stop the spread

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

  • Stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education
  • Restrict visits to your home and do not get together with more than one other person at a time
  • 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 2 April 2020.