Allocation of housing under consideration

Plans to review and redesign the district’s social housing allocations policy was heard yesterday.

Regeneration and economy overview and scrutiny committee members will meet for an update on whether the Social Housing Allocations Policy is fit for purpose and meeting the needs of the district’s population.

The policy was last reviewed in 2009, but since then there have been changes, including new guidance to housing allocations and new welfare measures, bringing about a need for an updated review.

It is hoped the review will enable better management of waiting lists, promote mobility for existing social tenants, meet local need and circumstances, ensure social homes go to those in greatest need and take into account Government policy changes and welfare reform.

Among welfare reforms are changes to the way housing benefit is calculated for working-age households renting from a social landlord.

From April 1 this year, housing benefit will be calculated based on the size of the household.

Some tenants may be moved into vacant properties or be involved in a mutual exchange with overcrowded households.

The current policy for social housing is a Choice Based Lettings (CBL) scheme, which operates a four-band system ranking from urgent need for housing to no specific needs.

A joint Bradford Council and Incommunities pilot scheme has been running in Aire/Wharfe to try to address the CBL’s weaknesses.

Customers assessed as being in need were matched directly to a property by an Incommunities officer, and properties not directly matched were advertised through a system at the Keighley Incommunities office and on its website.

Feedback from the pilot includes an improvement in the proportion of lettings to those in greatest need, better flexibility and reduced bureaucracy.

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