Supporting vulnerable tenants during lockdown

Over the last 12 months an increasing number of our customer experience projects are being designed to look at understanding the impact of COVID-19 on tenants.

During the first lockdown in 2020 our Research Director, Adam Knight-Markiegi, also accumulated a series of blogs on LinkedIn around the impact of COVID-19 on tenants (the first blog in the series can be found here).

Beyond this we’ve been adapting our existing long-term trackers to understand any additional support needs tenants may have, particularly as we entered the most recent phase of national restrictions. This includes signposting tenants to service updates or support services provided by their landlord, local authority or other partners.

Further utilising our resources

We have also just finished a project where we’ve been able to utilise our in-house telephone team to support a community-based housing association client. At the start of the pandemic, the housing association had been calling their most vulnerable tenants to check how they’re coping. Upon entering Tier 4 restrictions at the end of 2020, they restarted this service asked for our help in scaling this up to reach as many vulnerable tenants as possible.

For many social housing residents, the telephone is still a more personal means of communication and so over a course of two weeks we were able to quickly deploy our telephone team to make contact with tenants to offer reassurance and encourage them to sign up to the ‘OKEachDay’ service. As opposed to a standard survey, these calls were more conversational and captured information such as whether tenants were isolating and if they had regular contact with family or friends - ultimately to gather information to allow the housing association to provide tailored support.

Our telephone team were also provided with a list of support services and advice centres provided by local organisations that they were able to signpost tenants to.