Agenda item

Update on the Housing Allocations Review - Liz Dewing/Paul Sylvester

Minutes:

Paul Sylvester gave a presentation on this issue and made the following points:

 

·       It was noted that most of the previous work on this issue had been carried out by Liz Dewing who was now working on another project. The Board passed on their best wishes to her

·       The new policy had now been approved by Cabinet on 4th April 2023

·       The new IT provision would be rolled out to ensure that it could be put in place

·       Councillor Tom Renhard had requested that additional work was carried out on the provision of additional bedrooms for children with SEND

·       The move to managed choice would enable 50% of allocations to be made by direct offer

·       There would be an increase in priority for Care Leavers

·       Additional under occupiers would be prioritised to Band 1 to help free up homes for large families

·       All categories of homelessness would be prioritised to Band 2

·       The introduction of a new deal for the homeless at home for those faced with eviction from the family home

·       The Composite Need facility to differentiate between household need, distinguish people between bands and assist people with multiple needs, particularly for people in areas such as Lawrence Weston, Lockleaze, Knowle. This would enable letting teams to set aside housing to meet local need

·       Other actions were to increase the prioritisation of downsizing, provide additional support to those who were moving home too frequently, ensure as much information as possible was available in the guidance, move people out of supported housing where possible and make the most of mutual housing exchanges

 

In response to questions from HMB members, he made the following points:

 

·       There were different types of housing throughout the city including different types of sheltered housing, some of which had fewer age restrictions than others. Whilst some tenants may be of working age and may appear to have no disability, it was important to ensure no-one was left homeless while there were any sheltered housing vacancies

·       HMB members’ concerns were noted about removing 9,000 people from the waiting list who had very little chance of being offered a place since this masked the problem of housing in Bristol. However, it was noted that this did not prevent them from being on the register itself but did restrict their bidding

·       The rules concerning siblings sharing bedrooms had not changed – there was guidance indicating that those of the same sex could share up until 21, with those of different sexes could share until 10

·       The comments thanking BCC for their engagement on this issue were welcomed and would be passed on to Liz Dewing

·       The different arrangements were noted at places such as Slough Borough Council concerning the criteria for housing (ie that any Housing applicant needed to be on the waiting list for at least five years). This was to prevent people from outside the local authority applying. The HMB were advised that BCC operated a two year residency criteria

 

Peter Daw advised that he was prepared to help as a volunteer if required in this work.

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