COVID-19 News Update

We understand that coronavirus (COVID-19) is making each day scary and stressful. There are lots of changes happening very quickly in the media, in your local area and within your day to day life, and it can be hard to keep up.  

We are here to help you and to offer advice and support whenever you need us.  You are part of the Haven; Home, Safe tenant family and we are doing everything we can to make sure we help you to stay safe. 

The following information is important.  It includes information about your tenancy during these difficult times, how to reduce your risk of becoming unwell, new and fast ways to contact us and stay up to date, and some changes we have made to make sure you and our staff are protected.
 
If you have questions or concerns relating to any of the following information, please contact us.
 

We understand during this time things are very uncertain and can be worrying, please don’t hesitate to reach out to someone who can provide some comfort and advice.
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636   Lines Open 24/7 

Latest stay at home restrictions

In Victoria, Stage 3 restrictions start tonight, March 30th at midnight.  This means that you must stay at home as much as possible, or you could face an on-the-spot fine.

There are only 4 reasons to be out:

  • shopping for what you need – food and essential supplies
  • medical, care or compassionate needs
  • exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
  • work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely

There are extra precautions for people aged 70+

If you, a family member or someone who lives at your house are aged 70 or over, it is extra important that they stay at home as much as possible to ensure they do not get sick.  You are allowed to go out into your garden and take a walk for exercise but limit your contact with others as much as possible.  

If you need assistant or more information about staying at home, please contact us.

Important tenancy information

During this time of great uncertainty, we will not evict our tenants due to financial hardship.  

Four things you should know

1If you are on a pension or benefits, you will soon receive one or more of the first COVID-19 income supplement payments from the Government.

Income support for individuals Over the next six months, the Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. To be paid to both existing and new recipients of JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

Payments to support households The Government will provide two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders. The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020.

Temporary early release of superannuation The Government will also allow individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

2. These COVID-19 payments will not affect how much rent you pay.

3. If you continue to receive an income from your pension or benefits it is important that you continue to pay your rent. Our Tenancy and Property team will be monitoring any changes.

4. If you are working and lose your job during this time or are in financial hardship, talk to your Tenancy and Property Manager about accessing assistance. 

The exception to the rule
Research shows that family violence increases after an emergency or natural disaster such as bushfires or floods. We can anticipate that the incidences of family violence will also increase during this COVID-19 crisis.

Other contributing factors are likely to be increased financial insecurity, employment insecurity, and increased and sustained periods of time that families are together due to quarantine.

We will always work to help support tenants to sustain a tenancy, however, where it is necessary to end a tenancy for the protection of neighbours or others, we will enforce as necessary to protect. It is important for anyone experiencing family violence to know that family violence is never ok, no matter the circumstances or situation.

Important phone numbers and websites

Our new coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage

www.havenhomesafe.org.au/coronavirus
This page on our website has all of the latest news, health advice and helpful information about where you and find help.

Coronavirus hotline (DHHS)

1800 675 398 – 24 hours, 7 days.

If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline. Don’t call (000), this is for emergencies only. Find the latest updates at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

Our offices

Our offices in Bendigo, Preston, Mildura, and Geelong are open and have a number of new COVID-19 Infection Control measures that we all must abide by.

These measures are clearly communicated by staff and signage for your safety at all of our offices. If possible, please stay at home, and contact us by phone or email first.

Unfortunately, our offices are no longer able to provide tea, coffee or noodles.

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please do not attend any of our Haven; Home, Safe offices.

Staying safe

Wash your hands

This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent yourself from catching coronavirus, and to stop it spreading. The virus can live on all kinds of surfaces for a long time, and then transfer to you, and to other people without you realising.

To stop this, you must:

  • Wash your hands many times a day with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds and dry them properly.
  • Make sure you wash properly around your nails, thumb and fingertips
  • Don’t use your hand when you cough or sneeze, instead cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or into your elbow
  • Use a strong hand sanitizer (60% alcohol+) many times a day, especially after touching public surfaces, door handles or being on public transport.

Stay 1.5m apart

This is called ‘social distancing, and means you need to stay at least 1.5m away from other people. This includes strangers, work mates, and even friends and family who don’t live with you.

Do not hug or shake hands either.  

Stay at home

Staying at home is the best thing to do. This means that the virus will not continue to spread. Staying at home is exactly that – do not leave the house unless you absolutely must. You can go to the supermarket, the chemist or go for a walk and get some exercise. Do these things quickly and stay away from other people. Do not hang around public areas, or go places that you really don’t need to.

Stop the spread and save lives

Following the government’s instructions to wash your hands, stay away from other people and to stay home as much as possible will help to stop the spread and will save lives. If we all work together and do the right thing, we can stop coronavirus spreading and get back to normal quicker.

Maintenance

There are some small changes to this service for AHA and Active tenants, and we will keep you updated with any further changes to maintenance services that may occur.

You can view these, and stay up to date with any new changes by going to our website and clicking on your tenancy type.

Feeling overwhelmed?

If you have any concerns or need to call us for any reason, we want to hear from you. We can also assist with information about coronavirus (COVID-19) and other support services that may help.

Beyond Blue
If you are feeling anxious, depressed or suicidal, you can call Beyond Blue at any time on 1300 22 4636

They also have many helpful tips on how to care for your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak

Good Shepherd Microfinancing
If you are experiencing financial difficulty, you can access Good Shepherd’s free and confidential financial advice and counselling service.

Good Shepherd Microfinance ‘Good Money’ services offer our tenants priority access.

To find out more, please contact your Property and Tenancy office.

More helpful information

Head to our website and dedicated coronavirus information page at www.havenhomesafe.org.au/coronavirus to stay up to date.

We are here at this difficult time to support you, please stay in contact with us and ask us for help or advice. If you become unwell please contact us straight away so we can assist. We’re in this together, and we are here for you. 

Stay safe everyone.