NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Jan 6th, 2014.
A new housing allocation policy which could see a ‘Banding’ system implemented will be put before Councillors this week.
The Homes, Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee will meet on Wednesday to ‘consider the draft proposal of the revised Allocations Policy. If successful the policy would form the basis of a formal consultation exercise’ before being presented to the Council Executive Board.
Currently the Council uses a point based system to allocate houses; with points being awarded for a variety of needs and applicants being awarded for ‘cumulative needs’. At present those with the highest number of points are allocated housing. This system is one that has traditionally been used by the current and previous Council.
Instead it is being proposed that the Council move to a ‘Banding system’ that would place applicants into a priority band, rather than allocate them with points. This would see people banded depending on their circumstances, such as medical problems, unintentionally homeless, those who are at financial risk due to medical reform and those who are living in and overcrowded property.
The draft policy shows that in total there would be four bands which would see people housed by need and those with a local connection first. For example those who need to move on medical or welfare grounds, or have a community connection would be housed first, rather than those who have the highest number of points.
In the event that there are no applicants in the highest band with a Community Connection, properties will be allocated to the applicant, in the highest band who has a Borough Connection only. If there are no applicants in the highest band who meet these criteria, the property will be allocated to the applicant in the next highest band who has been waiting the longest and who has a Community Connection.
Applicants would also be prioritised in each band according to date of application.
It is stated in the report that this method ‘has the potential to be easier for applicants to understand, to be more straightforward for staff to operate and to be seen as being fairer’.
The draft policy is shown fully in the Appendix 1 of the Council report, however underneath we have summarised the bands and some of the eligible cases.
Band 1 would consist of members of the armed forces who are leaving the service, applicants who have a critical medical or welfare need to move from their current home, applicants who are at risk of financial hardship due to Welfare Reform and applicants who are leaving local Authority care.
Those who would fall into Band 2 include applicants who have been assessed as being overcrowded (other than same-sex children sharing with an age difference of more than 6 years), anyone who has a serious medical need, applicants living in unsatisfactory housing and tenants of the Council who are under occupying their home, and are looking to downsize, but are at no risk of financial detriment due to Welfare Reform changes.
Band 3 would include groups such as applicants who are living in insecure accommodation, those who have one or more children under the age of ten and are living in a flat and those who are unintentionally homeless applicants who have been assessed as not having a priority need.
In Band 4 applicants with no Borough or Community Connection, applicants with no identified housing need and applicants who have been assessed as having deliberately worsened their housing conditions would be considered.
You can read the full council report on the Wrexham Council website here.