News release from 23/10/2020

Comment on proposed changes to Social Housing allocation policy

Comment on proposed changes to Social Housing allocation policy

A consultation has begun into proposals to make minor changes to how Council and Housing Association homes across the County are allocated. This follows a detailed review of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lettings Policy.

The main aim is to ensure that homes are provided to those most in need and to let Council and housing association properties in a fair and transparent way. South Cambridgeshire District Council owns and maintains around 5,500 Council homes and hosts the Home-Link service that covers Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk.  This system helps to decide which residents are allocated which homes. All local Councils and housing associations in the area use this system to let their homes.

No changes to any of the ‘bandings’ that people seeking housing are placed into are proposed. This sees those in the highest need of housing given priority over those with less of a need.

Most of the proposed changes to the policy are alterations to wording to make it clearer what the policy means and to ensure it is applied consistently across Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk. This is important as the system that people use to apply for Council and social housing, Home-Link, is joined up across this wide area.

In addition, the proposed new policy incorporates changes to how a “local connection” is defined and sets out greater clarity as to what is meant in relation to employment requirements.

There are also proposed changes to give ex-partners or spouses of armed forces personnel the same exemption from local connection requirements as their former partners when they must move out of a Ministry of Defence property due to a relationship breakdown. This change would be to ensure policy meets the requirements of the Military Covenant.

You can read the full changes proposed, and take part in the consultation.

Responses must be received by the end of the day on Friday 18 December. If you would like a paper copy of the consultation and questions, please call 03450 450 051.

Councillor Hazel Smith

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Hazel Smith (pictured - left) said: “We’ve taken a long, hard look at the way we allocate our Council homes and believe that our Lettings Policy generally does this job very well. However, there are some minor changes we’re proposing, so I’m encouraging as many residents as possible to tell us what they think. We are committed to providing homes that are genuinely affordable to live in, and one way we contribute towards this is through our stock of Council homes. It is vital that our homes, and social housing properties, provide somewhere to live for those most in need and the application process must be as transparent as possible. Anyone who is a tenant, resident or landlord living in the Cambridgeshire or West Suffolk area, or people who live outside of the area and want to move into Council or social housing, could be affected by these proposals and so I would especially ask them to tell us what they think.”

Following the end of the consultation, comments received will be analysed and taken into account before the new policy is finalised in 2021.