Rules and processes designed to decide who gets access to social housing could be failing people in greatest need, according to new research from the Chartered Institute of Housing.
Faced with not enough genuinely affordable homes, councils and housing associations are forced to ration the housing they have, and that the way they allocate these homes can exclude some very vulnerable people.
There are at least 4 million households in England waiting for social housing, and this number is growing all the time .
The report recommends that Housing providers should consider making a proportion of their properties part- or fully-furnished, that they should review their lettable standard to explore ways to improve the marketing of properties, particularly in areas of low demand and that Local authorities and housing associations should work in partnership to strengthen the role of nominations agreements in how they balance competing objectives.
CIH policy and practice officer Faye Greaves says:
“For decades, we have failed to build enough homes, and our welfare safety net is no longer fit for purpose. More and more people are turning to local authorities and housing associations for help to access social housing.
“But that leaves housing providers having to find a balance between people in acute need, local priorities and their need to develop sustainable tenancies. What we found is that relying solely on processes can end up having the opposite effect to that intended.”
The report, which was sponsored by South Liverpool Homes, recommends that local authorities should ensure applicants’ unique circumstances and housing histories are considered when making decisions about whether someone can access a list and what priority they are given.