After a review of its Housing Allocation Scheme in 2015, Salford City Council introduced stringent changes, which a report at the time stated would reduce the housing register from 14,194 households to "approximately 6,000 to 8,000".
The same report also admitted that "most applicants have little chance of ever being re-housed" (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
A further report from Greater Manchester Combined Authority in April this year noted that Salford Council had 9,863 on its housing waiting list (see here) – but a new report, discussed at a meeting of the Lead Member for Housing and Neighbourhoods today, noted that "The changes to the Allocations Scheme have been put in place, with the housing waiting list reducing to c7,600".
This means that, as predicted, half of all families on Salford's housing waiting list have basically been booted off it in the last couple of years.
Changes to the Allocations Scheme, brought in during 2016, included the introduction of a two year residency requirement; access restricted to 'those in housing need'; a 'non-bidding penalty for an applicant not bidding for appropriate property over a twelve month period'; an 'offer-refusal penalty' and a penalty for 'deliberate worsening of circumstances'...
At the time, there was also a proposal to introduce what it called an "income eligibility element, together with a capital threshold" but this was not implemented. Now there is to be a review of the Allocations Scheme which, the reports states, will include "a 'housing options' approach to customers with greater income opportunities", although it doesn't go into any details of what this actually means.
The review of the Housing Allocation Scheme will be carried out by an independent consultant who will earn £500 a day, for ten days work, £5,000 – or around a year's rent for someone in social housing.
The review will consider whether the Allocations Scheme 'reflects national good practice in the implementation of legislation and guidance on housing allocations and Equalities Act Duties'; whether it is 'providing relevant reasonable preference categories'; whether it is 'being implemented appropriately'; whether it is having 'an inadvertent causal impact in the housing system'; and whether it 'appropriately reflects needs of local people and is a fair interpretation of legislation and guidance'.
Salford has a dire lack of social housing, with the Council stating that it needs 734 additional affordable houses per year to head off the crisis. Salford Mayor, Paul Dennett, is talking about building new council housing, although no-one has seen the plans. In the meantime, kicking half the people off the city's housing list has reduced the demand, no end.
For a full background to some of the causes of the city's affordable housing crisis, see previous Salford Star article – click here.