Armed services and people in employment to be prioritised for social housing

28 September 2012 in Housing and Mayor
Members of the armed services and people in employment on Newham’s housing waiting list will now be given priority by Newham Council.
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales and members of the council’s Cabinet have approved pioneering plans to change the council’s housing allocations policy.

Read the review of the Housing Allocation Policy Cabinet report (PDF)

People who have made a contribution to their community in other ways such as full time carers would also be given preference.

Newham is one of the first local authorities in the country to make these ground-breaking changes to their housing allocations policy. The policy was reviewed following a 12-week consultation with residents and proposals were put together based on their feedback.

Two thirds of total respondents agreed that when the council allocates social housing, priority should be given in a fair and just way to employed applicants over those not employed with the same housing need.

Current and former members of the armed services or their spouses will be given the highest priority on the housing waiting list. Applicants must have served within the past five years and either have a job in Newham or lived in the borough before joining the services.

In addition to this, people in employment will be prioritised above those who are not in work. The applicant or their partner must be in paid employment for 16 hours or more per week and have worked for any nine months out of the past 12 months.

Full time carers who care for someone for at least 35 hours per week and are in receipt of Carers’ Allowance are eligible too.

To be eligible to join the waiting list, all applicants must have lived in Newham for at least two years continuously or have a strong local connection such as working in Newham or close relatives who live in the borough.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “This decision shows Newham is leading the country when it comes to progressive housing policy. By prioritising those who have seen active service in defence of our nation, we can recognise their achievement and help support their future. There are currently 30,797 names on our housing waiting list and these measures will help ensure priority is given to those who contribute to society.

“Our resilience approach is all about supporting residents to help develop the skills they need to live independent and successful lives. The housing allocations policy has been reviewed with this in mind. Our scheme is about giving something for something; we want to recognise the efforts of those working for low incomes by prioritising them for social housing. These changes will also help to drive aspiration and form a stable community where people choose to live, work and stay.”

The new policy will be introduced on 29 October.