The official public consultation starts today (Tuesday 3 September) and will run until Friday 11 October 2019.
It comes on the back of a wholesale review by the city’s Better Homes Board, which includes representatives from Wolverhampton Homes and Tenant Management Organisations, of how council homes are allocated.
Views are being sought on a number of proposals that are being put forward for consideration, including:
- Ensuring residents in greatest housing need have the best chance of accessing housing. For example, the addition of a new band, ‘Emergency Plus’, that will give additional priority to applicants with a full homelessness duty who are also care leavers, members of the armed forces, require a substantially adapted property, are significantly overcrowded or anyone who requires immediate rehousing due to a significant threat to life.
- Supporting residents committed to adopting and fostering access appropriately sized homes to enable them to do this.
- A more consistent approach proposed for households that are overcrowded.
- Supporting reduced ‘waiting times’ for some of the most needed property types. For example, prioritising ground floor flats to residents with mobility restrictions due to the limited number of level access properties becoming available to let.
- Applicants to be assessed as having no housing need will no longer remain on the housing register. This would free up ten per cent of all properties let to them in a year. Around 5,000 households in this situation will be better served by being directed towards understanding and accessing other tenures of housing, such as quality private rented sector accommodation, as promoted through the city’s Rent with Confidence scheme, and owner occupation, through schemes like shared ownership.
- A recommendation that the local connection allowance of a quarter of all properties being prioritised based on the need to live in a particular area is changed to improve the chances of those in the most housing need accessing suitable homes.
- Increasing the level of arrears (up from £60 to £400) an applicant can be in before having their priority reduced, to enable households that could be in significant housing need to bid and accept offers of more suitable and/or affordable accommodation.
- Undertaking a feasibility study into the potential of establishing an Accessible Housing Register to further improve accessibility to adapted properties for those applicants that require them.
City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, Councillor Peter Bilson, said: “This is a crucial piece of work to frame how we allocate our limited council housing stock.
“It is important people have their say and I would urge them to take part in the consultation on this policy, which addresses the challenges being experienced by residents.
“The objective is to ensure people in the greatest housing need have the greatest opportunity to access suitable housing that best meets their needs.”
To take part in the consultation, please visit Housing Allocations Policy 2019.
There will be a public consultation event on the ground floor of the Civic Centre, St Peter’s Square, WV1 1SH, on Monday 16 September from 10.30am until 3.30pm.