Views sought on proposed changes to social housing allocation policy

Consultation on proposals to make minor changes to the way social housing is allocated across the area is now underway, giving people until mid-December to have their say.

Consultations

The consultation follows a detailed review of a Lettings Policy which is adopted by local authorities across Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk.

The policy helps to decide which residents are allocated which homes and its main aims would remain the same - to provide homes to those that are most in need and to let council and housing association properties in a fair and transparent way.

In Fenland, local housing association Clarion Housing owns and maintains around 4,100 general needs and retirement properties and manages the housing allocations on the Council's behalf.

The minor changes being proposed to the Lettings Policy do not include any changes to the 'bandings' that people seeking housing are placed into. This sees those in the highest housing need given priority over those with less of a need.

Most of the proposed changes are alterations to policy wording to make it clearer what the policy means and to ensure it is applied consistently across Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk. This is important as the system that people use to apply for council and social housing, known as Home-Link, is joined up across the area.

In addition, the proposed new policy incorporates changes to how a 'local connection' is defined and sets out greater clarity as to what is meant in relation to employment requirements.

There are also proposed changes to give ex-partners or spouses of armed forces personnel the same 'local connection' as their former partners when they must move out of a Ministry of Defence property due to a relationship breakdown. This change would be to ensure the policy meets the requirements of the Military Covenant.

The consultation runs until Friday, December 18, and no changes will be made to any housing applications at this stage.

You can read about the full changes proposed, and take part in the consultation on our Lettings Policy consultation page.

Cllr Samantha Hoy, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: "Allocating social housing can be a difficult task because many people are in need of decent and affordable homes. Therefore, it is important that we have policies and guidelines in place which fit local people as well as conform to government requirements.

"The Lettings Policy we share does a good job of helping to allocate homes in a fair and transparent manner, but minor changes are being proposed to help improve it further.

"I'm encouraging as many residents as possible to get involved in the Lettings Policy review to help ensure the district's housing needs are met and priority is given to those who are in greatest need of a home."

Following the end of the consultation, comments received will be analysed and taken into account before the new policy is finalised in 2021.

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