Hundreds of people to be dropped from housing waiting listBy Victoria Smith
April 17, 2012
A shake-up in the way struggling families can get council housing could see hundreds of people dropped from the waiting list.
Bracknell Forest Council has proposed axing its Band E list, where people have a low need to move, as it believes the 1,274 households on the list are already adequately housed.
Bands A to D, with A being the highest need for housing, would remain.
Other changes proposed include adding a rule that first-time applicants for council housing must have lived in the borough for a year before being considered and that households who “are considered to have deliberately worsened their housing situation” are placed in a band below their need.
The council also proposes prioritising people who are working above those who are not when bids are received for properties and that those who have financial resources to meet their housing need are prioritised above people who do not have the financial means.
Other changes include offering homeless people the first available property in the borough.
The council says by removing Band E it will take away the “false hope” most of these households are labouring under, and the household will receive advice on other housing options.
Simon Hendey, chief housing officer, said: “The revised policy is to ensure those residents with the greatest housing need are prioritised for affordable housing. The policy rewards commitment and increases transparency, while also penalising those who try to work the system.”
Last year, 43 properties were let to households from Band E, with most of those being sheltered accommodation for older people.
If the changes are approved, people on the waiting list who are affected will receive a letter explaining the changes.
Glyn Jones, director of adult social care, health and housing, said: “The revised policy is designed to not only be fair and transparent, but to help to ensure those with the greatest need will be housed as soon as possible.
“It will also help to ensure residents are not sitting on the list for long periods of time without progression.
“Residents who are currently in band E have no housing need as defined by legislation, hence the recommendation to remove the band. The removal of band E will not change the housing options open to those residents. If people are concerned about how the new policy will affect them they should call the housing options team for advice and support.”
In 2010, there were 2,851 people on the council’s housing waiting list. At present, there are 3,983 households on the list.
The council’s executive will discuss the proposed changes to the housing register at a meeting on Tuesday next week.
For more information visit www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/housing or call (01344) 352 000.