The HomeChoice Rehousing policy sets out how the Council assesses applications for housing and the process for letting to social housing that the Council has nomination rights to. The current policy contains three (3) bandings. These bands are broad based and applicants within each banding have the same level of priority although their housing circumstances can be very different.
All housing that becomes available to let is then advertised through Choice Based Lettings and housing applicants can express an interest in (called ‘bidding’) for properties they are interested in. All bidders are shortlisted according to priority banding and time waiting.
The changes have been proposed because more applicants are affected by more than one issue and have needs that are more complex, (this particularly applies to applicants in Band B), and because the Homelessness Reduction Act starts in April 2018 and expands the Council’s duties towards households who are affected by homelessness.
What is proposed is a change to the housing assessment and moving from three (3) to four (4) bands. This would create a bigger distinction between those with complex needs and those coming under the new homelessness duties, from those applicants who, whilst they have some housing need, are able to continue to live where they are without significant harm. Applicants in Band’s A and B would have the highest preference, though there are also proposals to change the proportion of lets targeted to each banding to make sure that those with some housing need still have some preference for housing.
South Gloucestershire Council is consulting on the proposed changes between 2nd January 2018 and 26th March 2018.