Charnwood Borough Council is changing the way in which it handles applications for social housing to ensure services are helping those most in need.
The Council has revised its housing allocation policy to focus on people who have the greatest and most urgent housing needs and who have strong connections to the borough.
This means that some people who are currently on the housing register, including many who are in the lowest housing need band, are unlikely to qualify for the register under the new policy.
Cllr Paul Mercer, the Council’s lead member for housing, said: “Making these changes means we can target our services towards helping those who are most in need.
“Under the current system we have many people who qualify to be on the housing register but whose chances of being offered social housing are slim.
“There are also examples of people being on the housing register for many years but have never made a bid for a property.
“Our duty is to support those most in need and with strong links to the borough.
“As part of these changes, we are also improving our application system to give customers a better online experience.”
Everyone who is currently on the housing register will need to re-apply online if they want to stay on the register. The Council has written to all current applicants to inform them of the changes.
The Council operates an online Choice Based Letting Scheme which means that if people are on the housing register they can ‘bid’ for available properties. The Council is introducing a new online housing application and bidding system.
Under the current system, when someone is accepted on to the housing register, they are put in one of four bands depending on their level of housing need: low, medium, high or priority.
Under the new policy, people will be put into one of three bands:
- Band 3 for applicants who have a housing need
- Band 2 for applicants who have a high level of housing need
- Band 1 for applicants who have an emergency level of housing need
Other changes include amending the local connection criteria from six out of the last 12 months' residence within Charnwood to two years' residence within Charnwood.
The policy is designed to prioritise applicants who have the greatest and most urgent housing needs.
Currently, there are over 2,800 people on Charnwood’s housing register and over 1,300 of these applicants are in the low housing need band. People on the register can apply to rent a property from the Council or a registered provider (formerly known as a housing association).
For more information, please read the Housing Allocations Policy 2019.