Social housing list slashed to cut out non-local people

THE waiting list for social housing will be cut in half after the district council approved new housing allocation rules.

At a meeting of the cabinet at Chichester District Council, members discussed changes to the housing register scheme.

Proposed changes included excluding anyone without a local connection to the area or if who has sufficient savings.

Rob Dunmall, housing operations manager at the council, said: “On July 3, we had 5,724 applicants on the housing register.

“The immediate impact [of the changes] will remove 1,595 applicants.

“There are a lot of others who we have uncertainty about at the moment.”

He said when the switch-over happens, he expects a housing list of about 2,500 – cutting the list in half.

“I think that is a fair reflection of the housing needs of local people,” he said.

Members approved the proposals, and cabinet member Tony Dignum said: “I think that is fair, to focus on those most in need.”

From October, applicants can only stay on the housing register if they:

n Currently live in the district, and have for two years, or have lived in the district for four out of six years

n Have been employed in the district for at least 12 months, or they must stay in the district to provide care to a relative

n Are a member of the armed forces

n Do not have sufficient income or savings which would secure accommodation in the private sector

n Do not have significant housing debts or any involvement in anti-social behaviour in the past five years.

Applicants with no local connection, and with no housing need, will be removed from the register as soon as is practical.

When the new system is implemented in September, all applicants will have to re-register to find out if they are still eligible for housing in the district.

This comes weeks after the Observer reported more than 200 new applicants were signing up to the housing list each month.

The district council is struggling to meet its affordable housing quota, and has lost several appeals from developers because it does not have enough affordable homes in place.

n What do you think about the changes to housing allocation? Let us know.