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News Report Page 6 of 18
Publication Date:-
2020-08-23
 
News reports located on this page = 2.

Digital tablets provided as a lifeline for residents to stay in touch with family and friends

₤50,000 worth of digital tablets is being handed out to residents as a lifeline so they can get online and keep in touch with family and friends during the Covid-19 crisis.  Charitable housing association Riverside has purchased hundreds of the gadgets and technical equipment so residents in Riverside's supported accommodation across the country can stay connected with the outside world.

Residents of all ages will benefit from the initiative including those in our supported housing services for veterans' who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, retirement living schemes, and supported accommodation for people who are homeless. The tablet will enable people to get online in their rooms, flats and bungalows while self isolating from the pandemic.

Many retirement living residents in Sefton are benefitting from Mi-Fi units which is a portable wireless router that connects the user to the internet via a cellular network, data SIM cards and digital tablets which have either been gifted to people who need them or given to schemes which is then loaned to residents.

Nikki Moss from Riverside's Ashton Court retirement living scheme in Birkdale received a Mi-fi unit for her laptop so she can surf the internet in the comfort of her own home. She said:- "I'm really pleased with the Mi-fi unit, it's brilliant and provides a really fast signal which never fades away. I can immediately connect to the internet. When the lounge had to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic I would sit outside in the corridor to get a signal, but now I can do it in the comfort of my apartment and keep in contact with family and friends. I never expected to receive 1 from Riverside, I was also offered a digital tablet, but I said I'm happy with my laptop. I'm really pleased, it's fantastic and it was a lovely surprise when a member of staff gave it to me."

Residents from Haigh Court in Southport have also benefited from the digital devices during lockdown with 1 lady making the most of her tablet and Mi-fi unit by doing some training online. She also uses it to video call her family and attends Church services online instead of using her mobile phone. The project is funded by the Riverside Foundation which is the housing association's charity that helps people overcome obstacles for a better quality of life.

Andy Cave, Riverside's Project Officer who is managing the roll out of equipment to residents, said:- "These digital tablets are a lifeline for many of our customers who are in challenging circumstances, so it will enable them to keep in contact with family and friends as well as being able to check their benefit claims, look after finances and do all the other things we take for granted. We worked with EE to get the best deal for the equipment and provide an appropriate data package for residents. It is a vital resource to those that haven't been able to use the communal lounge due to the government's social distancing measures and as a result haven't been able to access the scheme's Wi-Fi. We have listened to what our customers have been telling us during lockdown and we believe this gesture will really help those people in greatest need. It will benefit people of from 18 to 86 and from all kinds of backgrounds, but who have one thing in common in that they have been incredibly isolated, frustrated and lonely during these last 2 months. We hope residents will feel less socially isolated as they will be able to keep in touch with loved ones."

Riverside is 1 of the largest provider of homelessness services in the country, and its Care and Support operation works with over 16,000 customers every year.


Evaluation highlights landlord licensing successes

This property in Old Swan was auctioned off and the tenant re-housed due to its poor condition.

AN evaluation of Liverpool City Council's 5 year landlord licensing scheme shows it dealt with almost 24,000 complaints of which 96% were resolved.  The report is being considered by the Council's Housing Select Committee, on Wednesday, 19 August 2020, and comes as a consultation is under way on a successor scheme which would cover 80% of the private rented sector in the City.

Key finding from the analysis of the team's work from April 2015 to March 2020 includes:-

Over 34,000 inspections of licensed properties completed which identified 65% of properties were not fully compliant on the 1st visit.

Identification of 3,375 cases of the most serious category 1 and 2 hazards including disrepairs and excess cold affecting the health and wellbeing of residents.

Issuing of more than 2,500 legal notices, 169 formal cautions and 197 written warnings.

More than 300 successful landlord offence prosecutions and 87 civil penalties.

Resolving 98% of 2,859 anti social behaviour complaints received.

Success stories highlighted in the report include:-

The City's 1st prosecution for a retaliatory eviction, in Wavertree, which led to a 3 month custodial sentence for the owner.

An absentee landlord being fined ₤15,000 for renting out an unlicensed fire trap property to vulnerable people, with improvements subsequently made to the property in Toxteth.

An unlicensed property in Old Swan being auctioned and tenants re-housed due to issues with damp and gas safety.

Joint working with Merseyside Police that solved problems with anti social behaviour and rubbish outside a property in Fazakerley.

Consultation is under way on a new preferred scheme, based on poor property conditions, which would target the 16 wards in the City where at least one in five homes is owned by a private landlord and be introduced in 2021. It would mean that around 45,000 of the 55,000 properties in the original scheme would still be covered by the initiative, giving the Council additional powers to drive up standards and keep vulnerable tenants safe.

The wards included would be:- Central, Riverside, Greenbank, Kensington, Picton, Tuebrook and Stoneycroft, County, Anfield, St Michael's, Princes Park, Kirkdale, Old Swan, Warbreck, Wavertree, Fazakerley and Everton.

The Council is also consulting on 2 alternatives, which would include slightly fewer wards. 1, based on low housing demand, would cover all of those in the preferred option, apart from Greenbank, St Michael's and Wavertree. The other, based on deprivation, would include all of those in the preferred option, apart from Central and Wavertree.

Whichever scheme is taken forward, the Council would still investigate issues with properties outside of the designated landlord licensing area if it receives complaints and referrals.

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Lynnie Hinnigan, said:- "All the evidence over the last five years shows landlord licensing made a massive difference to the lives of our most vulnerable residents, and this report is irrefutable proof. Rogue landlord were compelled to take action to improve electrical and fire safety standards, as well as dealing with issues such as damp and anti social behaviour. Using our powers under the licensing scheme to proactively address poor management of properties meant that we tackled head on the dangerous living conditions that contribute to poor health such as excess cold. This life saving scheme ensures landlords meet their obligations and put in smoke detectors and fire doors as required by law. It is vital that we have a new landlord licensing scheme and we want as many people as possible to give us feedback on our current consultation proposal and have their say."

The 3 month consultation will run until October 2020, with a submission made to the Government for ministerial consideration in December 2020.  The consultation can be found at:- Liverpool.Gov.UK.

 
      
 
   
 
 
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