We are one of the Midlands' leading and most successful providers of affordable homes.

Dear customer

We know that this is a very worrying time when you have a home and family to look after. Many of our customers will be affected by a loss of income during this difficult period and will be concerned about making ends meet.

Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

We will provide as much support as we can to help you through this uncertain time. If you have any concerns about your tenancy or keeping up with payments, please get in touch so we can help you explore all of the options available to you.

We are also updating our website with the latest advice on benefits and support, so you can find all the information you need online. We are here for you.

whg

 

whg will provide updates about any changes to our services on our social media pages and here on our website at whg.uk.com/coronavirus 

The government has now instructed people to stay at home. You should: 

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home.

 

Frequently asked questions:


Rent payments and benefits

We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

  • Don't forget our Money Advice Team. They are experts on all things money and are keeping up to date on all the support available to people during the current situation, so if you do have any worries it really is worth speaking to them: whg Money Advice Service
  • I’m worried I can't pay my rent

    Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Our expert money advisors are keeping up to date on all the options and support available to people during this difficult period. If you have any concerns they are here to talk things through.

    We will do all we can to help you find the best solution for your individual circumstances, which may include coming to a different agreement for your rent payments. Please contact us or email money.advice.service@whgrp.co.uk if you wish to discuss your options. 

    The sooner you make a claim for benefits, like Universal Credit, the sooner you will receive payments. You have the option of taking an advance payment of Universal Credit if you need the money earlier. See the question 'What benefit support is available?' below for more information.

  • What benefit support is available?

    Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    As people are now required to stay at home, you may need access to financial support very quickly if your income has been affected due to being unable to go to work.

    You may be able to claim ESA (employment support allowance), and you should think about applying for Universal Credit if you are worried you are going to struggle. This website can help you get started.

    If you are unsure what you might be eligible for or don't know where to start, the whg Money Advice Service is here to help and you should contact them as soon as possible.

    The sooner you make a claim for benefits, like Universal Credit, the sooner you will receive payments. You have the option of taking an advance payment of Universal Credit if you need the money earlier.

  • Should I go to my Jobcentre appointment?

    No. People receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments at the moment.

    People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.

    You should not attend the jobcentre unless directed to do so for an exceptional purpose, for example to collect your Payment Exception Service vouchers.

    People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible. You will be able to complete this process over the telephone, rather than in person.

    The sooner you make a claim for benefits, like Universal Credit, the sooner you will receive payments. You have the option of taking an advance payment of Universal Credit if you need the money earlier.

    For the latest updates on this matter, click here.

  • What happens if I’m self-employed and cannot work?

    Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    A support package for those who are self-employed and unable to work was announced by the government on 26th March.

    However, in the meantime you may be able to claim ESA (employment support allowance), and you should think about applying for Universal Credit if you are worried you are going to struggle. This website can help you get started.

    As ever, whg's expert money advisors are keeping up to date on all the options and support available to people during this difficult period.

    We will do all we can to help you find the best solution for your individual circumstances, which may include coming to a different agreement for your rent payments.

    If you have any concerns they are here to talk things through and can help point you in the right direction: please contact us as soon as possible or email money.advice.service@whgrp.co.uk so our team can try and support you.

  • Help for older and vulnerable people

    We know that there is a great community spirit amongst many of our customers. If you are well and able to do so, we would encourage you to consider checking in on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours over the phone or online.

    whg have been calling customers over the age of 70 to check on their wellbeing, to give health advice and to see if there is anything they need a helping hand with at this time.

    If you or anyone you know may need any extra support from us at this time, please contact us.

    Making Connections Walsall is a friendly service for vulnerable people and families. If you need help with:

    • shopping
    • picking up prescriptions
    • food parcels
    • financial advice
    • reassurance calls/befriending

    Email: COVID-19communityhelp@walsall.gov.uk
    Call: 0121 380 6690

Money matters

Advice and support if you have financial concerns.

  • I'm worried I can't pay my bills

    The government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers to ensure you don’t face any additional hardships in heating or lighting your home during the coronavirus outbreak.

    If you are struggling with money problems options will include:

    • reviewing bill payment plans, including debt repayment plans
    • payment breaks or reductions in how much you pay
    • giving you greater time to pay
    • in some cases access to hardship funds.

    whg's expert money advisors are keeping up to date on all of these options and the support available to people. They can help guide you through the options you have if you are struggling with bills: whg Money Advice Service.

    If you think you can’t afford to pay for any extra gas or electricity used because you’re having to self-isolate at home, support will be available through your energy supplier. Your supplier must take into account how much you can afford, and will explain your options.

    The latest guidance on energy supply and coronavirus can be found on the OfGem website here.

  • What benefit support is available?

    Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    As people are now required to stay at home, you may need access to financial support very quickly if your income has been affected due to being unable to go to work.

    You may be able to claim ESA (employment support allowance), and you should think about applying for Universal Credit if you are worried you are going to struggle. This website can help you get started.

    If you are unsure what you might be eligible for or don't know where to start, the whg Money Advice Service is here to help and you should contact them as soon as possible.

    The sooner you make a claim for benefits, like Universal Credit, the sooner you will receive payments. You have the option of taking an advance payment of Universal Credit if you need the money earlier.

  • Should I take out a loan?

    Taking out a loan is one way to get an immediate cash boost, but often they can cause long term pain as they accrue interest over time.

    Later down the line you could find yourself in a worse position than you were before, as you will need to pay back the loan.

    The sooner you make a claim for benefits, like Universal Credit, the sooner you will receive payments. You have the option of taking an advance payment of Universal Credit if you need the money earlier.

    If you are thinking of taking out a loan, please contact us first to discuss your options. We will do all we can to help you find the best option for your individual circumstances, which may include coming to a different agreement for your rent payments.

  • How can I top up my meter if I am self-isolating?

    Customers with prepayment meters who are self-isolating or unable to leave their home should speak to their energy supplier for their options. This may include:

    • someone being sent to top up your prepayment card or token
    • having funds added to your meter credit
    • having a preloaded gas or electricity card sent to you in the post.

    No credit meters will be disconnected during the outbreak.

    whg provide access to some meters. If you know this is the case for your meter, and your energy supplier or another person needs to access the meter, you need to let us know.

    The latest guidance on energy supply and coronavirus can be found on the OfGem website here.

  • I can't withdraw my money

    Remember that whg offices are now closed, so we can no longer accept rent or other payments in cash, but we want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    As at 26/03/2020, some bank branches remain open. You should check online and contact your banking provider for information on allowing someone else to collect your money if you really need it.

    If you have a Post Office account:

    If you can’t get to a Post Office branch or a Post Office ATM on a regular basis, you can nominate a helper known as a permanent agent to have access to your account. Ensure this is someone you trust completely as they will have full access to your account with their own card and PIN.

    To do this, complete a permanent agent access form P6163 available at your local Post Office* or by calling the POca helpline on 03457 22 33 44. To keep your account safe, only one helper can have access at any one time and they must be at least 16 years old. 

    Please note: You can ask someone to collect sand take the form to the Post Office on your behalf as long as the form is complete and has been signed by yourself.

    My local Post Office is closed and I need to collect my money:

    If your local branch is closed it will have a notice advising of the next nearest open branch. You can also use a Post Office ATM to withdraw cash from your POca. You can search for the nearest open branch using the branch finder on the Post Office website: postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder

    Further information can be found on: postoffice.co.uk/post-office-card-account

    If you are unable to withdraw money you can also consider nominating someone else to collect your money for you. The pension/benefit is still paid into your account and then the person you have chosen can go to your account provider and draw it out for you. You should contact your account provider for information on allowing someone else to collect your money.

  • I need help putting food on the table

    If you need help putting food on the table, whg will work with you to help you get through your crisis and can advise how and where you can access your local food bank. You may need a referral from whg to be able to access the food and supplies you need, so you should speak to us first.

    If you are unable to attend the food bank in person, please let us know so we can see if alternative arrangements can be made.

Contacting whg 

If you need to get in touch with whg during this time, please read this guidance.

  • Are whg phone lines still open?

    Yes, our phone lines are open as normal between 8am-6pm. We are currently dealing with a significant number of calls from customers due to the current situation, but we will try and get to you as soon as we possibly can. 

    We are providing as much advice on this page as we can so that customers do not need to call us unless it is absolutely necessary. Please check all of the information available here before picking up the phone.

    Don't forget that you can message us on Facebook, on Twitter or through My whg and we will get back to you.

    If you are calling to report a repair:

    • we are now only carrying out EMERGENCY repairs
      • An emergency repair is a problem that presents an immediate risk to safety, security or health
    • we will not be accepting any routine repair requests either over the phone or online
    • if your repair is an emergency you must report it to us by phone on 0300 555 6666 (24/7). Please don’t call us if the repair is not an emergency so we can deal with urgent calls as fast as we can
    • if you report an emergency repair over the phone, we will ask you if you are self-isolating so we can make the necessary arrangements to carry out the repair safely
    • we are cancelling any existing routine appointments
    • these measures are in place to help keep you and our colleagues safe and reduce the risk of infection. We know this may be frustrating and we ask for your patience at this time.
  • Are whg offices open?

    No. The government is now instructing people to stay at home. You should not leave your home except for very limited purposes. When can I leave my home?

    This means that all whg offices are now closed. We have also closed community rooms and some communal areas. The closures will be clearly signposted in these places, but you should avoid using these places even if they are open.

    Any group sessions, appointments or meetings due to take place at whg offices or venues, including The Workplace, have been cancelled.

  • How can I stay up to date?

    You can find the latest updates:

    • On this website page (whg.uk.com/coronavirus)
    • By following whg's social media pages:
    • On the digital screens, if you live in our high-rise blocks

    whg are also using a text messaging service to keep customers up to date. Some customers may receive updates in the post, too.

Reporting repairs

If you need to report a repair, please read this guidance. 

  • Can I report a repair?

    You can only report a repair if it is an emergency.

    An emergency repair is a problem that presents an immediate risk to safety, security or health.

    We will not be accepting any routine repair requests either over the phone or online and we cannot book anything in for the future at this time. Please don’t call us if the repair is not an emergency so we can deal with urgent calls as fast as we can.

    If your repair is an emergency you must report it to us by phone on 0300 555 6666 (24/7). We will ask you if you are self-isolating so we can make the necessary arrangements to carry out the repair safely.

    These measures are in place to help keep you and our colleagues safe and reduce the risk of infection. We know this may be frustrating and we ask for your patience at this time.

  • Will my repair appointment still go ahead?

    Unless it is an emergency, then any existing repair appointments will not go ahead. We are cancelling any routine appointments.

    If you have an emergency repair booked and are displaying symptoms of coronavirus or are self-isolating, it is vital that you let us know so that we can carry out the repair safely.

    These measures are in place to help keep you and our colleagues safe and reduce the risk of infection. We know this may be frustrating and we ask for your patience at this time.

  • Can I book a routine repair for the future?

    No. We are only booking emergency repairs at this time, so please don't call or message us to report any routine repairs as we will not be able to schedule them in, even for the future.

    An emergency repair is a problem that presents an immediate risk to safety, security or health.

    These measures are in place to help keep you and our colleagues safe and reduce the risk of infection. We know this may be frustrating and we ask for your patience at this time.

     

Extra support

Community support for older or more vulnerable customers.

  • Help for older and vulnerable people

    Making Connections Walsall is a friendly service for vulnerable people and families. If you need help with:

    • shopping
    • picking up prescriptions
    • food parcels
    • financial advice
    • reassurance calls/befriending

    Email: COVID-19communityhelp@walsall.gov.uk
    Call: 0121 380 6690

  • Where is my closest food bank?

    The Black Country Food Bank is keeping its website up-to-date to show which of its locations are open. You can find your closest one here:
    www.blackcountryfoodbank.org.uk/locations/

  • What have whg been doing to help?

    Ensuring you feel secure in your home is our absolute priority. We want to reassure you that no-one will lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    • whg have been calling customers over the age of 70 to check on their wellbeing, to give health advice and to see if there is anything they need a helping hand with at this time.

      We have been directing customers to the local support services that are available where we can. See the above two questions for more information on these.

      If you or anyone you know of needs this support, please pass this information on or get in touch with us and we will see what we can do to help.
    • Our expert money advisors have been keeping up to date with all the latest news on the support available to people during this difficult period. If you have any concerns they are here to talk things through.

      We will do all we can to help you find the best solution for your individual circumstances, which may include coming to a different agreement for your rent payments. Please contact us or email money.advice.service@whgrp.co.uk if you wish to discuss your options. 

Applying for a home

There are some changes if you are thinking of applying for a home.

  • Can I still search for a new home?

    Due to the coronavirus outbreak, whg have temporarily suspended our lettings service. Therefore homes will NOT be advertised on Choose & Move as normal on Thursday, 26th March and you will not be able to bid.

    We are reviewing the situation regularly and we will post an update as soon as we know when lettings can safely resume.

    In the meantime, if you are new to whg you can still register for an account on our Choose & Move service - see the question 'Can I still register with whg?' below.

    If you need to speak to us about your application, you should email the Choose & Move team or send a message through your Choose & Move account.

  • Can I still register with whg?

    You can still register for our Choose & Move service, but we have had to make some changes to the way this works due to our office closures.

    For example, you may be asked for digital copies of documents, rather than physical copies. We will let you know what you need to do during the process.

    Please be aware that we have temporarily suspended our lettings service, so whilst you can register, you cannot bid for any homes until further notice.

    If you need to contact us about your application, you should email the Choose & Move team or send a message through your Choose & Move account.

  • Will any viewings go ahead?

    No, unfortunately no viewings will be able to take place at this time.

    If you are uncertain as to where you now stand with your current accommodation, you should contact your current landlord and explain your situation. It may be that your current agreement could be extended until this situation is resolved.

    If you need to speak to us about your application, you should email the Choose & Move team or send a message through your Choose & Move account.

  • Can I still move home?

    Unfortunately we have had to put on hold any tenancy agreements that are due to start.

    Please be assured that all offers for whg properties will be honoured and our lettings service will continue as normal as soon as we are advised it is safe to do so. 

    If you are uncertain as to where you now stand with your current accommodation, you should contact your current landlord and explain your situation. It may be that your current agreement could be extended until this situation is resolved.

    If you need to speak to us about your application, you should email the Choose & Move team or send a message through your Choose & Move account.

Annual servicing / safety checks

Changes to annual servicing and safety check appointments.

  • Will my annual servicing / safety check go ahead?

    We monitor the gas servicing dates of all of our properties and we have safely carried out as many of these appointments as we can. However, we are now having to delay some appointments in order to help reduce the spread of the virus.

    If you are worried about a delay to your safety check, please contact us and ask for our gas planning team - we may be able to give you some reassurance and will take any action we need to in order to keep you safe.

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Multi-lingual information on coronavirus.

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