In November 2020, Ongo announced three new strategies detailing its main aims over the next three years to improve its services and offering to tenants.
The first is to ‘be a great landlord’, which focusses on digitalisation, customer satisfaction, rent arrears, and letting homes.
The second is ‘offer quality homes’, which includes enhancing environments, investing £83.1m in current homes, and building 225 new homes each year for the next 10 years.
The final strategy is to ‘create opportunities’, which focusses on jobs, training, mental health, and employment support – as well as investing £1m each year in community projects.
Although these aims set out a three-year plan, since they launched last year, Ongo says a huge amount of work has already been done to support their success.
This work has involved offering quality homes:
- Satisfaction levels on neighbourhoods being a great place to live have improved, and from September 2020, 53 environmental and neighbourhood improvement jobs have been carried out to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve the lives of tenants
- Repairs satisfaction levels and right first time jobs have gone up over this challenging period
- The number of empty homes has reduced over the last few months, with a quicker turnaround
- A review of the Lettable Standard has taken place with a range of stakeholders and will be in place for April 2021
- A consultation meeting with Ongo’s Properties Panel was held to discuss different elements of decent homes work, such as kitchens and bathrooms
- 44 new homes being completed in November and December
Being a great landlord:
- Ongo has increased its young tenant voice by developing new ways of engaging and focussing more on digital and social media communication
- A real time, digital customer feedback project is being progressed, with sign-off expected in the coming weeks
- Ongo’s e-signup project was launched in March to create a paperless solution to potential tenants applying for a home
- Ongo has invested £1m in new fire doors at three high-rise buildings
- A new Customer Resolution Team has been created following the introduction of the Housing Ombudsman’s Code of Practice in July last year
And creating opportunities:
- Over 35,000 safe-and-well calls have been made to tenants and 11,500 food parcels delivered since the start of the pandemic
- Ongo Talk mental health support has increased the number of counsellors and have supported 217 people since the start of lockdown
- Over 640 people have accessed the Ongo Journey to Work so far this year, with 113 gaining employment
- Teams have continued to engage with young people, supporting 112 of the 100 target for the year
- Ongo was successful in becoming a Kick-start Gateway provider and will work with local businesses to employ up to 150 young people who are out of work
Ongo CEO Steve Hepworth said: “It was great to see these strategies launch last year, after a huge amount of consultation with stakeholders and tenants.
“We are all really proud of them, and they outline exactly what our organisation stands for.
“The work that has been done so far is fantastic and really reflects that by working together we can achieve so much, even in such challenging circumstances.”
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