Westminster Conservatives have hit the homeless hard again by changing Council allocation rules to stop homes families bidding for council flats for 12 months and discharging their responsibility by placing them in private rented homes.
In a recent Cabinet report on Housing Allocations for 2014/15 the Council says;
“Most applicants currently wait 7-10 years for a social housing tenancy and we now intend to start identifying more households for whom the private rented sector would be suitable and start making offers to them to bring our duty to an end. It is also anticipated that as a result more households threatened with homelessness will be more open to accepting help to find a private rented sector to prevent homelessness.
To strengthen this message to applicants and to give Housing Options time to assess whether applicants will be able to manage in the private rented sector and to find them a suitable property it is proposed to stop homeless households being able to bid for social housing for 12 months after the date that we accept a duty. We aim to start this as soon as administratively possible after 1stApril. “
Councillor Guthrie McKie, Labour Spokesperson for Housing, said;
“Every other year Westminster Council keeps changing the goal posts for homeless families. Two years ago they removed the Family Quota system from the housing policy. This allowed children of Westminster residents, who lived in the borough, to apply to go on the housing list. The Council’s reason at the time was there wasn’t enough social housing available. Now they are altering the policy yet again to exclude those homeless families who have been housed with a private landlord for a year from bidding for social housing. Again the reason is a shortage of social housing. The same report says that of the 424 new and converted housing projected for the coming year, only 42 will be social housing. There is a clear need for more social housing but the Council has no intention of delivering the new homes to deal with the housing crisis in Westminster.”