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Article date - 06 August 2021
Social housing provided by Registered Housing Providers offers residents an affordable home in local communities, providing stability for individuals and families.
While St Helens Borough Council is no longer directly a landlord, it has a responsibility to co-ordinate the allocation of social housing in the borough and with over 8,000 applicants currently registered for re-housing, the council must set a framework that can meet the needs of residents who are in urgent circumstances and who require affordable accommodation.
How the system works and who is prioritised is set out in the Housing Allocations Policy and the Council has launched a refreshed scheme, seeking the views of residents to shape this important document.
In St Helens Borough social rented housing is allocated through the Under One Roof scheme, where applicants are categorised into bands based on their needs criteria – for example those at risk of homelessness are given higher priority than applicants seeking to move for social reasons. Once applicants become a Member of Under One Roof, they can then enter up to three expressions of interest – known as ‘bids’ – every week to secure a social home of their preference.
The affordability and stability of social housing can be an anchor for local communities and labour markets. Social homes enable workers on lower wages to continue living close to the jobs that need their skills, and near to family and care networks, making communities more resilient.
Tanya Wilcock, St Helens Borough Council’s Director of Communities, said:
“Everyone needs a safe and stable home, a foundation we all need to get on in life. They grant space and time for people to grow roots that form stronger communities, the opportunities for employment and the chance for children to flourish in education.
“Because of this, it’s vital that we provide housing options for everyone, including those whose needs are not being met by the wider housing market. This updated policy will shape how we make decisions on priority for rehousing, making the process more transparent, fairer for all and help the council and our Registered Provider partners to make the best use of the homes available, to the benefit of the residents who need accommodation in our communities.”
To take part in the consultation and view the full policy, visit https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/HWOVXL/
The survey closes on 29 October 2021.