The impact of coronavirus on housing and diverse communities

Information and advice for housing providers

*This page will be updated regularly; please look back for further updates

As the pandemic progresses we are learning more and more about the way it operates and the disproportionate impacts it is having on certain population groups. Sadly, although we now appear to be past the ‘peak’ of the virus, these impacts continue to be felt acutely by diverse and marginalised communities and most likely will continue for a significant amount of time to come.

Throughout this resource we provide both latest updates and signpost support for diverse and vulnerable population groups along with specific information for housing and service providers. We are continually looking for ways to ensure members are receiving the support they need and welcome any suggestions of things to cover. 

With Welsh Government publishing a road map detailing the exit from Lockdown, we are asking members to share their exit strategies with us. This will enable us to provide the services and support you need during this challenging time. If you are able to share some details with us, then please email us on info@taipawb.org Diolch yn fawr!

Government Advice is that everyone with coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate for 7 days, with other household members self-isolating for 14 days.

Symptoms are:

  • A new continuous cough

OR

  • A fever

OR

  • Loss of/change in taste or smell

Any symptomatic individuals can now apply for a home test from the Welsh Government website, drive through and mobile testing units are expected to be launched soon.


 

BAME people and communities are being disproportionately affected by coronavirus, evidence is growing regarding these effects. Black people are 4 times more likely to die from Covid-19 compared to white people, Bangladeshi and Pakistani men are 1.8 times more likely to die than white men and Bangladeshi and Pakistani women are 1.6 times more likely to die than white women (ONS).

Lockdown measures are also exacerbating pre-existing issues, with it likely to be a long time before things return to normal there could be long-lasting effects.

Resources

  • Runnymeade Trust have written a blog on how coronavirus will increase race inequalities, including points on housing and health impacts.
  • Sadly, hate crimes have been on the increase since the Covid-19 outbreak began. Victim Support provide have trained advisers to provide support and links to key services here.
  • Institute for Fiscal Studies discusses how and why BAME groups are more vulnerable to COVID-19
  • Muslim Council of Britain have produced guidance for Ramadan, including impacts coronavirus will have and advice on organising iftar and taraweeh. 

Latest Updates 

  • EYST Wales have raised key concerns to Welsh Government around the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities including; increased health risks, food security and distribution, effects on religious practices and loss of jobs.
  • The Health and Care Minister has released a statement on the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities, stating that an investigation is needed, more mortality details to be captured and Wales will feed into formal review conducted by Public Health England.
  • Our director Alicja Zalesinska has joined a socio-economic Welsh Government advisory group on the disproportionate impacts on BAME communities. Housing and Homelessness will be one of the main themes, if you have any issues to raise please email info@taipawb.org and we will report.
  • Welsh Government and partners have outlined measures to protect BAME workers.

It is common knowledge that Covid-19 is having a particular impact on people living in poverty. It is worth noting that whilst older people are at a particular health risk, it is younger people who will be the hardest hit financially with less than two-fifths of 25 to 34-year-olds in Wales having enough savings to replace a month of their regular income compared to nearly 90% of over-75s. It would be prudent therefore to offer additional financial support or adjustments to this group when considering this as a social landlord. Private renters are also harder hit in Wales than in England.

Resources

Latest Updates

  • Find out more about changes to the welfare system in this briefing from Community Housing Cymru.

People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are particularly affected by Covid-19. There is a raft of guidance and support on this issue already. It is particularly worth noting that those with No Recourse to Public Funds can also access homelessness and other support. You can stay up to date by following the links below.

Resources

  • Stay up to date with guidance for homelessness, housing and support sector on this Cymorth Cymru page or this Welsh Government page.
  • Shelter Cymru also provide Covid-19 related housing advice here.
  • Welsh Government have produced a homelessness resource for local authorities and partners

Latest Updates

  • Welsh Government has issued PPE guidance for frontline services.
  • Welsh Government have implemented a land release fund, which will unlock public sector land assets, supporting delivery of affordable and social housing in Wales

Self-isolating and social distancing are having negative impacts for survivors and those experiencing abuse. Inequality impacts on women are also emerging; women are experiencing increased care responsibilities during this time and PPE designed to fit men leaves women less protected. Women are also more likely to be working on the frontline as health workers, teachers and carers and with 42% of women working part time and more likely to be in lower paid roles, women are more vulnerable to the economic impacts of coronavirus.

Resources

  • Find out more about further support and particular impacts on women from Welsh Women’s Aid.
  • WEN Wales have written articles on the impact of coronavirus on Women’s rights and health.
  • Find out more about the role of housing providers in tackling domestic abuse in this factsheet from CIH Cymru.
  • Welsh Government have made their VAWDASV online training module accessible to all during the coronavirus outbreak to ensure as many people as possible can recognise the signs of abuse, access it here.
  • Chwarae Teg have produced a policy briefing on women and Covid-19.

Latest Updates 

  • Welsh Women’s Aid is calling on the police for assurance that they will continue to respond robustly to all forms of violence during this crisis.
  • This BBC article addresses PPE and how it does not fit most women.
  • Welsh Government have launched their ‘Home shouldn’t be a place of fear campaign’, this will raise awareness of support services and encourage people to spot the signs of domestic abuse.
  • Welsh Women’s Aid have produced a Covid-19 Bystander Toolkit which provides specific advice for public, service providers and employers.

Coronavirus will have specific impacts on disabled people, including greater isolation and at times requirement for support. See useful information below.

Resources 

  • Disability Wales produced Coronavirus FAQs for disabled people.
  • Find out more about drastic changes to care and support legislation and how it might affect disabled people in Wales from Disability Wales and partners here.
  • Disability Wales offers to put disabled people in touch with local COVID support groups here.
  • Goldies Cymru are holding Facebook Singalong sessions for people who feel isolated here.

Latest Updates 

  • Changes to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
    • New claims and change of circumstances continue to be processed
    • PIP2 return deadline extended to 3 months
    • Face-to-face assessments have been suspended, replaced with telephone assessments
    • Awards due for review automatically extended, payments to continue as usual
  • Motability scheme suspended for new users and renewals, payments for existing users continue as usual

As with those who have mental health issues, so too might older people as they are encouraged to self-isolate for what could be a significant period of time, in particular if they have underlying health issues.

Loneliness and isolation among our older population is already a problem especially for older people with no immediate family or who are living in rural communities with little access to suitable transport. The added government advice to remain in their homes will be of concern.

Resources

  • See Welsh Government guidance for social or community care and residential settings.
  • See this practical briefing from HousingLin on housing and care for providers of specialist housing for older people.
  • See Check-in and Chat service for over 70’s from Age Cymru
  • See this helpful advice from the Campaign to End Loneliness on how older people can remain connected.
  • Check out the latest from Care & Repair Cymru – in English and Cymraeg – as it tailors its support services in the light of coronavirus.
  • Housing LIN has brought together a range of support guidance on loneliness and isolation into a one-stop-resource here.
  • The Older People’s Comissioner has created a coronavirus information hub providing information and advice for older people and professionals and tips for well-being.

Latest Updates 

  • See statements from Older People’s Commissioner on the impact of COVID on older people.
  • Welsh Government have announced £40 million of additional social care funding. Read the statement here.
  • Welsh Government has issued PPE guidance for care and support settings.
  • Welsh Government have updated their key critical worker testing policy, including extended list of who can be tested
  • Joint statement released on impact of coronavirus on disabled people in Wales and response from Welsh Government

It’s also important to remember that not everybody is conversant in English and Welsh and therefore public health and government messages need to be communicated in different languages.  To that end, the government has made available its stay-at-home and self-isolation guidance in a number of languages. COVID-19 is also affecting migrant communities in different ways. Asylum seekers and refugees are at particular risk from homelessness and destitution, at health risk due to staying in shared accommodation. People with no recourse to public funds are eligible for homelessness and other support due to coronavirus.

Resources 

  • UK government advice is available in different languages here 
  • Summary of UK government responses in relation to asylum seekers is on Refugee Council website here
  • ASAP produced a factsheet on changes to Asylum Support here
  • Migration Yorkshire have produced a Covid-19 Migrant Information Hub with multilingual resources here 

Latest Updates

  • DWP confirmed that people applying for benefits during Covid-19 period do not need National Insurance Number.
  • Welsh Government has issued PPE guidance for frontline support services
  • All ongoing housing possessions have been suspended and landlords have to give three months notice before starting possession proceedings.
  • The government has announced that asylum seekers will not be required to leave supported accommodation until at least June when their claim is decided, even if it is rejected.
  • Chartered Institute of Housing have more information on impacts of coronavirus on migrants here.
  • The Welsh Refugee Coalition (which Tai Pawb is part of) have provided the government information on homelessness and other assistance needed for those with No Recourse to Public Funds. They have also called on WG to plan an exit strategy for refugees and people with No Recourse to Public Funds with a focus on housing provision.
  • Changes to EU Settlement Scheme
    • Access to scheme for victims of domestic abuse, a potential breakdown in family relationship in this case will be taken into consideration on application.
    • Family members of British citizens will be able to apply for status under EU Settlement Scheme

It’s of paramount importance that public health information and government guidance – changing daily in fast-moving circumstances – is communicated appropriately and effectively to those with learning disabilities to slow the spread of the infection. This includes ensuring that documents are available in easy-to-read formats. In many cases, this information will be shared by supported living providers and their families.

Resources 

  • Learning Disability Wales has collated easy-read guides from across the learning disability spectrum which are helpful for sharing.

Latest Updates

Mental health support and the Mental Health Act 

The social and psychological impact of coronavirus on our lives is likely to be marked as we have very limited contact with others and are generally staying at home. The Coronavirus Bill is also introducing temporary changes to the Mental Health Act which have been widely criticised by many in the mental health sector.

Resources

  • See this regularly updated page from Rethink on the changes to Mental Health Act.
  • This page from Samaritans provides helpful advice for those struggling to cope with Covid-19.
  • The BBC has also compiled some helpful advice on its website.
  • Welsh Government have launched online training for workers who have been furloughed.
  • Mental health resources available in 49 languages

Latest Updates 

LGBTQ+ people are at a particular risk from COVID-19 because they: have higher rates of HIV and cancer, are more likely to smoke and can be more reluctant to seek healthcare support due to experiences of stigma and discrimination. LGBTQ+ people may also have problems self isolating with homophobic family members.

Resources 

Latest Updates 

33% of social tenants in Wales are disabled, many with sensory impairments. It is important to make the information and advice you provide to your tenants as accessible as possible.

  • Key tip: if you’re using images of leaflets/infographics on social media – provide their content in text format too – you can do this via a thread or number of posts.
  • See this practical guide for housing providers from RNIB and Action on Hearing Loss 
  • See this accessible guide on social distancing – also available in a number of languages – from Public Health Wales
  • See this accessible guide on how to protect extremely vulnerable people – also available in a number of languages – from Public Health Wales
  • Digital inclusion during the pandemic is crucial; Digital Communities Wales has a plethora of guidance and online courses to help navigate the essentials of shopping for necessities and staying healthy

Resources

Gypsies and Travellers are much more likely to have underlying health issues and will find self isolation difficult.

  • The Friends, Families and Travellers organisation has published guidance for supporting people on traveller sites, unauthorised encampments and canal boats in light of COVID-19. Read the guidance here.

Prisoners due for release or being released early are particularly vulnerable, they may not be able to access adequate housing, have limited funds and are likely to have underlying health issues.

  • Welsh Government have produced guidance for local authorities regarding men and women who are due to leave custody.

Resources

The Equality and Human Rights Commission have developed guidance for employers as a result of coronavirus:

COVID-19: Guidance for employers

COVID-19: Reasonable adjustments for employees

COVID-19: Your duties on pregnancy and maternity 

Thank you to everyone who attended our Online Equality Series forums. We held three forums to discuss; Mental Health, BAME Communities and Aids and Adaptations.

We gained some very useful insights, positive outlooks and things to consider moving forward. You can read our ‘Golden Nuggets’ providing a summary and top tips for Mental Health and BAME Communities here.

You can also access audio recordings of the Mental Health and BAME Communities, please respect the privacy of those who attended.

We will be providing a fuller briefing on Aids and Adaptations which will be sent to our members, if you are not on our mailing list please join here.

Information

What Tai Pawb is doing

Though the office is physically ‘closed’, the Tai Pawb team is all set-up to work remotely from home. We are continuing to work with partners and members in adjusting to the new working environment, putting in place plans to deliver some of our services through technology. Over the coming months we will be supporting members with their response to coronavirus, feeding messages to the Welsh Government and providing advice and information.

If there are any areas of work in particular that you’d like us to concentrate on in the current circumstances, please get in touch with us.