Manchester City Council

Agenda item

Agenda item

Housing Allocations Policy Review

Report of the Strategic Director, Growth & Development

 

This report describes the Council’s review of the social housing Allocations Policy and recommends changes to enable the city to best meet housing need within a backdrop of reduced turnover of stock.  

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director, Growth and Development that described the Council’s review of the social housing Allocations Policy and recommended changes to enable the city to best meet housing need within a backdrop of reduced turnover of stock.  

 

The Committee had been invited to comment on the report prior to its submission to the Executive on 13 November 2019.

 

The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -

 

·         Providing a background and legal context to the Allocations Policy;

·         Information regarding the demand and turnover of social housing;

·         Information on the engagement and consultation exercise, noting that discussions always focussed on the objectives of helping those in greatest need;

·         Information on the proposed changes to the Policy;

·         Information on the Equalities Impact Assessment; and

·         Next steps.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Supporting the introduction of a two year continuous residency qualification;

·         Supporting the review of the new policy at 12, 24 and 36 months following the implementation to identify if any of the changes had created any unintended consequences;

·         Supporting the call to end the Right To Buy Scheme;

·         What support was offered to assist people wishing to down size and free up larger family homes; and

·         What was the support offered to ex-armed forces personnel.

 

The Committee then heard from Councillor T. Judge, Lead Member for the Armed Forces, who commented that some armed forces personnel experienced difficulties when accessing housing, health services and education when leaving service. He stated that the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who had served in the armed forces, and their families, were treated fairly had improved the offer to ex-service men and women, and this was to be welcomed. He further noted the creation by Government of the Office for Veterans' Affairs was to be welcomed. He commented that the number of ex-service personnel who slept rough in Manchester was low and there were a number of charities and support services dedicated to supporting them.

 

The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration commented that the impact of continued austerity; the capping of personal benefits and welfare reform; a freeze on the Local Housing Allowance had contributed to an increase in the number of families and individuals experiencing homelessness placing an increased demand on a very limited housing resource. She stated that the policy of Right To Buy had also significantly impacted on the availability of social housing and all of this had contributed to the necessity to review the Policy, to ensure the most vulnerable residents in the city were supported.

 

The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration informed Members that Northwards had a dedicated officer who would help and support those tenants who wished to ‘right size’ and free up larger properties. She further commented that ex-armed forces personnel would be allocated a Band 1 (Priority) when applying for housing.      

 

Decisions

 

The Committee: -

 

Recommend that the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration explore opportunities to work with those charitable organisations working with ex-armed forces personnel and their families to help them secure suitable accommodation.  

 

The Committee endorse the recommendations that the Executive: 

 

1. Note the statutory and online consultation responses received.

 

2. Approve the changes to the Housing Allocation Policy (the Policy) recommended within this report.

 

3. Delegate to the Head of Housing Services and the City Solicitor approval to complete the final and lawful version of the Policy.

 

4. Note that the Equalities Impact Assessment shows no unintended or disproportionate effects are likely to arise for applicants with protected characteristics. 

 

Supporting documents: