13 September 2016

Housing allocations proposals to strengthen focus on local need

A report going to the Housing & New Homes Committee on 21 September 2016 recommends updating the city’s housing allocations policy. Councillors will discuss proposals which aim to help ensure the council can house residents in the greatest housing need.

A consultation on the council’s allocations policy, carried out from December 2015 to February 2016, showed broad support from residents and partner organisations on the priorities for updating the scheme.

The main changes proposed aim to reduce the numbers on the housing register by limiting it to people in high housing need who do not have the means to satisfy and provide solutions for themselves, and strengthening the local residential connection requirement from two years to five, with some exemptions that we are legally required to have.

While the council allocates around 800 properties a year, the housing register continues to grow and has now over 24,000 applicants. With the high costs of managing such a large waiting list and a relatively few having a chance of housing, it’s recognised that the current scheme is not necessarily housing our residents in the most housing need. It also raises expectations that we are not able to meet.

Cllr Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee, said:

“Demand massively outstrips supply in the city so it’s right that our housing register recognises this huge demand, is realistic and prioritises those in greatest need.

“We are doing everything we can to provide new affordable homes in the city, including building 500 new council homes. However, it’s important to recognise that this is against a background of growing need, and we need a more efficient allocations scheme to help make sure we can focus on those residents who need it most.”

If approved, the new policy will be applied immediately to all new applications. All current applications will be reassessed under the new criteria, which is expected to take until March 2017.

Read the agenda papers for the Housing & New Homes Committee on 21 September 2016.