Ballymena NIHE staff kept busy on 'phones

Dessie Blackadder


Dessie Blackadder

The Housing Executive continues to provide its wide range of services to all tenants and customers during Covid-19, fielding thousands of calls a day.

One facility that remains fully operational is the Ballymena based telephony team, which is vital for tenant contact.

Switchboard Supervisor, Clare Karaalp, explained: “The Housing Executive receives an average of 5,000 calls a day requesting a variety of services.

“Due to government and Public Health Agency advice, however, switchboard staffing levels were reduced once lockdown restrictions came into effect and initially this was a huge challenge.

“Our usual system for directing calls had to be changed, as staff answered calls at home using mobile phones.

“Telephony staff were determined to answer all calls and provide help and assistance at this worrying time.


“A large training room in our Ballymena office was re-purposed, and socially distanced workstations were established.

“Staff were temporarily redeployed to respond by phone to the many different needs of customers, and our staff working at home.

“We now have six people operating our switchboard in Ballymena, as well as staff working remotely in our Causeway, Antrim and Newtownabbey offices – all practicing social distancing.

“With restrictions in place, we’re still handling up to 3,500 calls per day, including our 24 hour repairs line and the homelessness helpline.

“It’s great to have such a dedicated, hardworking team who are still providing an excellent service through the Covid-19 emergency.”

If you are a Housing Executive tenant and need advice or assistance, please contact us on 03448 920900.

Other lines are 03448 920901 for repairs, 03448 920902 for Housing Benefit queries, and 03448 920908 for Homeless assistance out of hours, or you can visit our website or social media channels for more details.

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