New social housing allocation system for Havering approved

Havering Cabinet meeting on housing

Havering cabinet members voted to approve proposed changes to how social housing is allocated in the borough. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

A modified system for allocating social housing is to be introduced in Havering after councillors signed off on making changes to the current scheme.

As reported by the Recorder, Havering Council's cabinet met on Wednesday night - October 20 - to decide on a proposed new scheme intended to replace that implemented in 2016.

Cabinet member for housing, councillor Joshua Chapman, outlined the objective behind the reforms: "We want to continue building on the foundations necessary to ensure that Havering residents get the high-quality housing that they deserve and that it is allocated in a fair and transparent way."

A prepared report addressed the existing demand issues, highlighting that only one in every five households on the housing register had "a realistic prospect of securing social housing" (across 2019-2020).

Under the new scheme, applicants will have to live in Havering for a continuous period of six years - no change on the current position.

While a draft of this scheme sought to introduce a 10-year rule, this was not included in the final version.

In terms of changes, greater flexibility has been afforded to the previous annual income threshold of £36,000.

The new scheme has created an amended range of between £36,000 and £50,000, with the latter limit to apply to a family of three or more.

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In terms of savings, a new limit of between £20,000 and £30,000 is set to be introduced.

The new scheme is also set to bring in an Opportunities Register, on which a member of the public can record their preference for housing options other than social housing.

Intended for applicants who do not qualify for the housing register, this register will also market low cost home ownership options to residents.

Council leader Damian White - chairing the cabinet meeting - described the report as "incredibly exciting".

He said: “I think it shows the scale of our ambition; it’s just not the accommodation our council wish to offer those residents in affordable housing – which is the best possible accommodation that we can provide – but also to make sure it’s done in a way that is carbon neutral."

The new scheme will be introduced in 2022, with a precise date to be confirmed.

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