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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Views Wanted on Social Housing Changes in North Yorkshire

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5:34pm 8th March 2013

North Yorkshire’s system of allocating homes - Home Choice - is undergoing a review, with applicants being asked for their views on the changes.

‘Home Choice’ has been running since July 2011 – operated by councils and Housing Associations across the county to give greater flexibility and choice. 

Last summer applicants were asked how they felt the scheme was working and how it could be improved in the future.   The scheme was also evaluated by the University of Birmingham.

All these views have been considered by and an amended allocations policy has been drafted.

Key changes to the policy are:

  • Applicants will need to have a local connection to the area covered by the partnership
  • Applicants will only be allowed to bid on homes that meet their housing need. This is to ensure customers are not penalised by changes to welfare reform that will be implemented in April
  • Applicants who own their own home and have sufficient equity to resolve their need for alternative housing will be excluded from the list.

“We know that there are simply not enough affordable homes in North Yorkshire to meet the demand,” said Chair of the North Yorkshire Home Choice Board, Tom Brittain. 

In the 18 months since the system went live waiting lists have increased dramatically, as more people than ever have taken the opportunity to register on the list and use the system to try to find a home.

“Demand is simply outstripping supply,” he added.  “About 60% of people registered are currently in a priority band with little or no housing need.  Most of these applicants will struggle to find housing through Home Choice because there are so many people in greater need waiting for homes.

“We need to find alternative ways of helping this group with its housing requirements.”

The consultation runs from today (March 8) until May 3.  Everyone - especially those most affected by the proposed changes - is encouraged to comment and give their views.  All the details can be found on www.northyorkshirehomechoice.org.uk  

At the end of the consultation each partner to the scheme will consider the changes and agree a revised policy for implementation this summer.

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