Birmingham is changing the way it allocates social housing. Everybody on the current housing register will get a letter over the next few weeks explaining the new scheme and the need to re-register straight away if they still need social housing.
The new scheme will still ensure that social housing is allocated to those most in need, but the new criteria will give people a more realistic view of whether they are likely to be made a housing offer. Applicants will need to have some form of housing need in order to qualify to join the waiting list.
Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for housing and homes, Cllr Peter Griffiths, said: “For too long we have had a meaningless waiting list of thousands of people who in reality will never be made an offer of a council house or registered provider’s home. This new scheme will give a fair assessment of someone’s housing need and a realistic evaluation of whether they have sufficient priority to get a home. We will of course continue to offer housing advice to help people explore all their options.”
Social housing is housing owned by councils and registered providers (formerly known as Housing Associations) and demand is far greater than the number of social homes available. All councils must have an Allocation Scheme to determine priorities for allocating social housing and the procedures that will be followed. Birmingham City Council’s Allocation Scheme describes the criteria that the council will use to prioritise applications for homes owned by the council and homes offered to people on the council’s Housing Register by registered providers through nominations agreements. The scheme also sets out who will be assisted, how to apply for housing and how homes will be allocated.
Before the new scheme goes live we will only be assessing applications from existing applicants who have completed the re-registration process. New applicants will be able to apply under the new scheme as soon as it becomes operational on 20 April 2017. More information about the criteria applicants need to meet to qualify for social housing can be found at birmingham.gov.uk/allocation-scheme
Staff at the council have explained how the new scheme will work to organisations and groups across the city. If people have difficulty in registering, housing officers, social workers, voluntary groups and advice agencies should all be able to help and the re-registration letters contain contact details for help and advice.
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