Page last updated on 29/9/2011
New Access to Social Housing policy comes in to force
A NEW Access to Social Housing policy has been implemented in Carmarthenshire.
The new policy came in to effect on September 19, and aims to provide fairer access to social housing.
It was developed following a wide-ranging consultation including housing applicants, tenants, councillors, council and housing association staff, as well as statutory and voluntary bodies.
The new policy provides a simplified points-based system, and is common with policies operated by housing association partners.
By law, the council must give priority to households that are homeless, living in unsanitary, overcrowded or unsatisfactory houses; those who need to move for medical or welfare reasons, and those who need to live in a particular area of the county to avoid hardship.
In addition, local priorities have been identified and built in to the new policy.
These include those who are in the highest medical need, those who need a suitably adapted property, and those who need to move to reduce delayed transfers of care – also known as hospital bed-blocking.
The new policy also gives priority to requests that will maximise social housing stock – for example, existing council or housing association tenants who want to downsize to a smaller property or move from smaller to larger properties.
In recognition of the need to maintain stable communities, priority will also be given to households who want to be re-housed in the ward where they currently live.
Housing options manager Chris Beer said: “We want to provide the best possible housing service and deliver improvements for service users. The new policy ensures that access to social housing in the county reflects statutory obligations and key local priorities. It has also been developed to reflect actual housing need.”
All applicants on the Housing Choice Register, currently around 8,000 people, will receive a letter advising them of their new points and a summary of the policy.
Housing staff are on hand for those who are not in the highest housing need, and will provide advice on alternative housing options.
Cllr Hugh Evans, Executive Board member for Housing, said: “Through a robust consultation process, a wide range of people had an input in to the policy. As a result, it better addresses local housing need, is more supportive to communities and is easier to understand. It is also fairer, and more transparent.”
Copies of the revised policy are available from the council or housing association offices. It can also be found on the housing pages of the council’s website www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk