Published:  01:15 PM, 12 August 2021

Newham Council's Housing allocation policy to be made fairer

Newham Council's Housing allocation policy to be made fairer

Following extensive consultation with local residents,Newham Council is proposing changes to make Housing Allocations Policy fairerby prioritising households most in need.

The changes will have a positive impact on:

  • Households who are overcrowded by two or more bedrooms, who also have another specific housing need
  • People unable to be in paid work due to caring responsibilities or disabilities
  • People who have lost their job due to Covid-19
  • People who have been in the priority home seeker category for a long time

The Allocations Policy sets out prioritisation of householdson the Housing Register. The new policy will better align the limited supply ofhomes to the huge demand for affordable housing and ensure vulnerable Newhamresidents can get much-needed support in tackling the housing crisis.

Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Mayor of Newham, said: 
“Our new Allocations Policy will help us put some of the most vulnerableresidents in Newham front and centre of our efforts to secure local affordablehousing for people who need it most.
“I am really proud of our ambitious plans to build the high quality affordablehomes to meet the needs of our residents after a shocking lack of governmentinvestment in social housing for a generation.”
The Covid-19 crisis has resulted in many people losing work or going intofull-time caring. To ensure these people are treated fairly, the new policywill stop favouring people in employment over people who do not work.
The new Allocations Policy will prioritise households with multiple disadvantages,such as those who are short two or more bedrooms with another reasonablepreference. Such policies will help to tackle the negative impact ofovercrowding on Newham residents’ mental health, child development, asthma, andthe spread of Covid-19.
From October 2020 to January 2021, 2,618 residents and businesses took part ina 12 week consultation on proposed changes to the Council’s Housing AllocationsPolicy, in an effort to keep the views of our people at the heart of NewhamCouncil decisions.
Preparation for these changes will begin immediately and the policy is expectedto be operational in early 2022. The changes include:

  • Tightening qualification criteria by increasing the time that an applicant must have lived in Newham before they can join the Housing Register to three years (with some exceptions, for example for people fleeing domestic abuse).
  • Restricting the accrual of waiting time for applicants without a specific housing need, or ‘reasonable preference’. While it is not necessary to have a housing need to join the register, households will no longer be able to accrue waiting time unless they meet one of the reasonable preference categories.
  • All households with a reasonable preference will now be in the same group, regardless of their employment status, designed to support people who are unable to work in finding a home.
  • Higher priority for severely overcrowded households (short by two or more bedrooms) who have one other reasonable preference, to prioritise families living in the worst conditions, and struggling with additional pressures such as medical issues or homelessness.

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