Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Have you say on how Brent Council allocates social housing to those on the waiting list


King's Drive Estate, Wembley this morning
Brent Council is consulting on how social housing is allocated to people on the housing waiting list. This is what they say:
Residents are being invited to have their say on how the council allocates social housing in Brent.

The council is launching a consultation that asks people to give their views on the criteria for distributing the limited number of social houses currently available.

Brent is proposing changes to ensure that social housing is shared out fairly to people in need. These changes include a proposal to give residents in temporary accommodation priority for social housing that becomes available on the estate where they are living, so that they don't have to move neighbourhoods. Another change looks at giving priority to homeless families living in temporary accommodation on an estate that is being regenerated to move into social housing within the same area.

The full list of proposed changes is available online here. The consultation will end on 22 January 2019, ahead of the Cabinet decision's in March with the agreed changes then set to begin in April.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: "It's really important that social housing is distributed fairly given the chronic shortage of genuinely affordable homes in Brent. We are asking for as many views as possible. These changes impact everyone on the waiting list.

"We do have ambitious plans to build more homes in Brent, but these changes work with the limited supply of homes that we have available to us right now."

Brent last reviewed how it allocated social housing in November 2014 and made changes to its scheme in January 2015.
Detailed proposals are not available until you actually start the process of filling in the on-line consultation AVAILABLE HERE  so I have reproduced them below:

To see all the options click on 'read more' below.



Introduce a new nominations agreement with Registered Providers (RP).


Due to the lack of social housing that is available, the council generally meets its housing obligations to accepted homeless households by allocating suitable accommodation in the private rented sector. However due to the lack of supply of affordable private rented accommodation, homeless households are often placed in temporary accommodation, generally managed by Registered Providers (RPs), until they are rehoused into social housing or the private rented sector accommodation. This form of accommodation is dwindling because there are central government restrictions on the rent the RPs are allowed to charge. As a result, landlords are becoming unwilling to renew leases because they can get higher rents for their properties through alternative arrangements.

However, if these properties are offered as permanent homes rather than as temporary accommodation, the RPs can charge a higher rent, increasing their ability to retain the interest of landlords on the scheme. As the private sector remains the council’s best chance of meeting rising housing demand, this proposal ensures the council can maintain a steady supply of such accommodation from private sector landlords. It is important to bear in mind, however, that the properties will be managed by RPs, rather than by the landlords themselves.

As such, under this proposal, the council will work with RPs to lease units of private rented accommodation in order to offer them to newly accepted homeless households. This will be a final offer of accommodation and will bring the council’s main homelessness duty to an end.
1. Do you agree that the council should introduce this new nominations agreement with Registered Providers to offer newly accepted homeless households accommodation leased through Housing Associations to end the main homelessness duty?
  •  Strongly Agree
  •  Agree
  •  Neither Agree or Disagree
  •  Disagree
  •  Strongly Disagree
2. Allowing households currently in Band D to retain the waiting time they accrued when in a higher band if they become homeless and are placed in TA.
The last review of the Allocation Scheme resulted in the reassessment of approximately 17,000 households from Bands A-C to Band D and they became ineligible to make bids on Locata for social housing. Some of these applicants had been waiting for a number of years on the Housing Register although they had no realistic prospect of being rehoused. If the household were subsequently to become homeless, and placed in priority Band C (or higher) on Locata, their registration date will be the date that they are accepted into that band by the council. They would not retain any of the waiting time previously accrued.
This proposal is to enable households currently in Band D who go on to be accepted as homeless under the legislation or accepted into a higher band on the Allocation Scheme, to retain the waiting time that they had previously accrued.
It is important to note that the Allocations Policy does not increase the number of homes available. Therefore, adding more people to the Housing Register will increase the waiting time of people already on the Register and reduce their chances of being rehoused.
3. Do you agree that these households should retain the waiting time they had accrued when they were in a higher band?
  •  Strongly Agree
  •  Agree
  •  Neither Agree nor Disagree
  •  Disagree
  •  Strongly Disagree
4. Local Lettings Policy - Give priority to households who need a transfer to bid for accommodation that becomes available on their current estate.
The Council allocates approximately 600 properties that become available to let every year through its Choice Based Lettings Scheme, Locata. Council tenants in priority (Bands A-C) can join the Register and bid for a proportion of these properties. If successful, they are often relocated to a different estate/ward within Brent because they do not have any extra priority for a property on the estate where they live.
It is proposed that existing tenants who are registered for a transfer and are awarded Band A-C should be given priority to bid for existing and newly built homes that become available on their estate, to avoid them having to relocate to another area. This is particularly important as the council is about to start a programme of building over 800 new homes, alongside existing homes, on council estates. This proposal will enable the council to prioritise existing tenants on the estates for these new homes.
Do you agree that council tenants who need a transfer should be given priority to bid for properties within their estate?
  •  Strongly Agree
  •  Agree
  •  Neither Agree nor Disagree
  •  Disagree
  •  Strongly Disagree
5. Revising the quota system. 
The current Allocation Scheme contains the following quotas enabling different services to have direct access to council accommodation for their clients.
·      Children leaving Care - Young people referred by Brent Social Services who are unable to make alternative arrangements.
·      Probation Service - Applicants nominated to Brent Council by the Probation Service to avoid the risk of reoffending and where housing is a particular issue as judged by the Probation Service in Brent.
·      Children Services - Existing tenants and non-tenants referred by Brent Social Services where accommodation is needed because of a child’s welfare e.g. child protection cases.
·      Adult Social Care - To release supported housing and approved for independent living by Brent Social Services and The Housing Department.
·      Voluntary Sector – To release supported housing but not known to Adult Social Care, and approved for independent living by Brent Housing Needs.
·      Young People in employment or apprenticeships The current quota system caps the number of units that are available to each cohort. It is proposed that we move away from the quota system for these cohorts of clients and instead consider nominations for council housing from each service on an individual, case by case basis.
·       
The council will ensure its responsibility to vulnerable residents continues to be met in all cases.
Do you agree that we stop using the quota system to allocate social housing to the above categories of clients?
  •  Strongly Agree
  •  Agree
  •  Neither Agree nor Disagree
  •  Disagree
  •  Strongly Disagree
6. Prioritise unaffordability
The supply of affordable accommodation in the private rented sector has been significantly impacted in Brent by Welfare Reform, specifically the changes to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the introduction of the Overall Benefit Cap (OBC). As a result, private rented accommodation is becoming increasingly unaffordable to Brent residents.
This is mainly due to the increasing gap between the LHA rate and the market rate for private sector accommodation in Brent, which means that the majority of households on low incomes or dependent on benefits find it difficult to find affordable accommodation in the private rented sector in Brent. If they do not have a recognised priority as set out in the current Allocation Scheme, they will not be eligible to bid for social housing.
It is therefore proposed that households on low incomes or dependent on benefits, who do not have a recognised need for housing, apart from the fact that they cannot afford private rented accommodation in Brent, be given priority on the Housing Register, and be eligible to bid for social housing.
It is important to note that the Allocations Policy does not increase the number of homes available. Therefore, adding more people to the Housing Register will increase the waiting time of people already on the Register and reduce their chances of being rehoused.
Do you agree that households on low incomes or dependent on benefits who do not have a recognised need for housing should be allowed to bid for social housing?
  •  Strongly Agree
  •  Agree
  •  Neither Agree nor Disagree
  •  Disagree
  •  Strongly Disagree

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1 comment:

  1. While it is humane and necessary for everyone to have a roof over their heads, whether low income or not, as long as the individual is willing to work hard to pay for that roof, then they should be allowed to bid for that roof, and they should not be hindered or prevented from getting that house. Everyone whether rich or poor has the right to live, be happy and comfortable. It is a basic human right.

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