Social housing allocation will change to help city’s most vulnerable people

Councillor Suzanne Richards.

A range of recommendations around the Council’s social housing allocation policy will be scrutinised this week (Weds, 6 November).

The proposed changes to the allocations policy follows a major public consultation over the summer to review the current rules to ensure residents who are in greatest need have the highest priority. 

Members will be asked to approve changes to the housing policy taking into account 2,500  responses to the public consultation.

Proposed changes include:

- Improve housing opportunities for homeless residents
- Residents facing domestic violence will be placed in bands 1 and 2, rather than 1, 2 and 3 (see notes to editors for banding information)
- Introducing a two year residency rule to apply to be on the housing register. Currently requirement is simply to have a Manchester address. 
- Homeowners will no longer be able to join the housing register to bring in line with other local authorities
- The saving limit for applicants will be reduced from £75k to £30k to bring in line with other local authorities
- Award different levels of priority for degrees of overcrowding. 
- Have fewer bands on the allocations scheme, to make it easier to navigate and easier to understand

By law, the City Council must agree principles and rules around who qualifies to be put on the housing register and how they are prioritised to receive a social home. 

Manchester has more than 65,000 social rent homes, circa 30% of all housing stock in Manchester. However demand is high across the city, with more than 5,000 households currently on the register in priority need. 

Turnover of social homes has also decreased significantly, meaning residents are choosing to stay in social housing for longer and those on the housing register are waiting for longer to access a new home. The number of new lettings in 2018/19 was 2,644 compared to 3,356 in 2015/16.There is also a yearly loss of social homes through right to buy.  

The report will be heard by the Council executive on Wednesday, 13 November. 

When agreed, the changes to the allocation policy are expected to be implemented in the autumn of 2020.

Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “The housing landscape in the city has changed a lot in the last few years due to a range of factors, including welfare reform and increasing private rents. This means that  demand for social housing is going up, while we continue to lose stock through Right To Buy. It’s important then that we can react to changing factors to ensure social housing can be accessed by those who need it most. 

“At the same time, the number of people presenting as homeless in the city has increased massively in the past few years, putting an unsustainable strain on temporary accommodation. It is right therefore that we can support these residents more effectively with improved access to social housing.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. Real life insight is vital so we can understand the housing pressures in the city and react to them properly.”

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