Changes to how you access social housing in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre

Changes to how you access social housing in Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre

Blackpool, Fylde, and Wyre Councils, together with local Registered Providers, are proposing to make some changes to how people find and are offered social housing in the area and we would like to hear your views. We want to make the My Home Choice Fylde Coast system easier to use and fairer for everyone.

How are things working now?

There are currently 6,000 people who are registered on the My Home Choice Fylde Coast system but only 2,200 have high priority (Bands A-D) because they have the greatest housing need.

Last year just under 1,200 social rented homes were let through the system, with 64% of homes let to people in Bands A-D and 36% let to everyone else.

What do we want to change?

While we can’t easily make more homes available, we want to make it quicker and easier for you to find the home that you are looking for.

We plan to upgrade the system and reduce the amount of information that we ask for. Homes will be advertised as soon as they are available rather than all being advertised at the same time each week.

We also want to make some changes to how we prioritise people for our homes:

One local connection to the Fylde Coast

This means that local residents who have moved between the three Fylde Coast boroughs will now be able to get onto the housing register when previously they may not have met the local connection requirement.

However priority will still be given to Blackpool residents for Blackpool homes, Fylde residents for Fylde homes, and Wyre residents for Wyre homes.

Two ways of letting homes

The new system will offer at least 50% of homes, including those in the shortest supply, only to people in Bands A-C; each of these homes will be offered to the “bidder” with the highest priority. The rest of the homes will be available to everyone on the list and offered on a first come first served basis.

This is designed to ensure that people in the greatest need still have access to the most homes, while offering opportunities to everyone who needs to move quickly to find a suitable home as soon as it is available. There will be a target that across the whole system two thirds of lettings will go to people in Bands A-C.

Three Priority bands

We plan to simplify the priority bands for people with a legally defined housing need so that there are only three bands, with the current bands C and D now becoming a single band C. There will be no bands given to everyone else, making application simpler, while still allowing everyone to bid on first come first served homes.

Existing social housing tenants can only use the system if they have a housing need

We want to prioritise new applicants who are not already housed in social housing. Social housing tenants who do have a good reason to move because their situation has changed will still be given a priority band and be able to use the system to find a new home.

Some homes will be offered with priority to people in paid or voluntary work

We want to encourage people in work to access social housing, and propose that 20% of homes made available on a first come first served basis will be offered with priority to people in paid or voluntary work.

More flexibility to get a home with an extra bedroom

Instead of only allowing you to express an interest in a home that meets your household’s minimum needs, we want you to be able to get a home that has more space, as long as the rent is affordable to you.

We hope that this will make social housing attractive to a wider range of people.2 3

We would also appreciate your views on aspects of the current eligibility criteria:

Eligibility for those with high income or savings

Currently applicants whose gross household income is over £60,000, and applicants with savings over £30,000 (except those over 55) are excluded from the housing register.

This means that social housing is currently restricted to those on low incomes.

The full draft new policy is available on the MyHomeChoiceFyldeCoast and partner organisations’ websites and www.myhomechoicefyldecoast.co.uk

Tell Us What You Think

You can tell us what you think by using the on-line survey at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CBRYN/

Or, complete the survey form and return it to

Housing Strategy,

One Bickerstaffe Square,

Talbot Road,

Blackpool,

FY1 3AH

Please let us have your views by Monday 18th December 2017 so that we can take them into account in the new system.

Based on the responses we receive a new system would be developed and tested in the first part of 2018, and would go live in September 2018.

The current policy and system will continue to operate until the new system goes live.