Published Thursday, 12th July 2018

A new policy to best utilise the support for people in housing need and how council properties are allocated to applicants, is being proposed.

For the past two years, a new approach offering detailed face-to-face housing advice sessions have been giving applicants a realistic idea of the likelihood of their getting an council home. This and additional levels of advice to those facing homelessness, has significantly changed the numbers of people with a low level of need applying for council housing. Most are signposted to and can meet their housing need in the private sector.

In 2014, there were 922 people in the bronze – lowest need – band, while following the shift in practice, in 2017, there were 462 in bronze indicating that other sources of housing are being increasingly used. This change has freed support to focus on those in the greatest housing need – gold and silver bands - and whose numbers have remained relatively stable.

The new, more efficient allocations policy aims to make best use of York’s limited and much-needed housing stock in partnership with other social housing providers. This meets the recommendation of scrutiny committees and fits with the findings of a consultation with stakeholders and staff.

The new policy means addressing who is able to apply for social housing. It will consider qualifying criteria including local connections, housing reviews, verification of an applicant’s identity to prevent fraud, and setting of the levels of need.

These criteria could include, for example, determining levels of combined household income and savings, levels of debt or an ability to manage a tenancy. Also encouraging downsizing to free urgently-needed two and three-bedroomed family homes will be a priority.

Councillor Helen Douglas, executive member for housing and safer communities, said:  “The impact of individual, realistic interviews with applicants is helping ensure those who could meet their housing need in the private sector do so, and that our stock is reserved for those in greatest need.

“Along with a more effective allocations policy which is relevant to the city, progress with our Local Plan, our older people’s accommodation programme and our Housing Delivery Programme, we aim to provide more homes to help meet the need in York. “

The decision session for the executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods takes place on Thursday 19 July from 2pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online from: www.york.gov.uk/webcasts

To find out more about the report, or to attend, visit:

http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=932&MId=10869

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