Families living in overcrowded homes and high-rise blocks without gardens will find it easier to find a suitable home, following a review of Norwich City Council’s social housing allocations scheme.
The scheme, known as Home Options and used by 14 local housing associations, has been updated following public consultation and agreement by the council’s cabinet.
With almost 4000 people waiting for a home at any time, it is important that the council’s allocations policy is prioritising applications effectively.
As well as improving the way the city’s housing register is prioritised, changes to banding criteria also bring local policy into line with the Homelessness Reduction Act and relevant benefit legislation.
Broader changes to the policy will streamline the way people who are ready to can move on from hostels, which will free up beds for people that need them.
Councillor Gail Harris, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for social housing, said: “It is vital that we do everything possible to make sure that those in greatest need of social housing in Norwich have the best possible chance of obtaining it.
“Norwich City Council continues to build new homes, but every year we lose approximately 140 properties through the Right to Buy, so are always playing catch up.
“Supporting residents in their search for a home requires sensitivity and often an understanding of complex cases, and I am grateful to everyone involved in this important work.”
Key changes to banding criteria include:
- households with children of different genders who share a bedroom will receive priority banding for overcrowding when the eldest child reaches age ten (reflecting benefit legislation around under-occupation, sometimes referred to as ‘bedroom tax’)
- households with children living in a flat which has its own garden will no longer receive priority banding.
This policy was consulted on in November 2020 and agreed by cabinet on Wednesday 7 July.
Changes will come into effect from Monday 2 August and will be applied to all current and new applicants, who have been contacted directly if affected.