Soldiers, the homeless and those who can demonstrate a connection to Peterborough will be given priority when they sign onto the Housing Register under a city council proposal.
In what would be a radical change to the way the register works, the council is planning a series of wide-ranging alterations that are designed to target those most at need of new accomodation, and applications will be given greater credence if a person has a connection to Peterborough.
Currently, the council operates an “open-house register” along with ten registered social landlords, such as Cross Keys Homes, in which anyone can apply as long as the are aged 16 and over, have a right to live in the UK, and have not been found guilty of unsuitable behaviour which would make them an unsuitable tenant.
But under the new proposals, those who have no links to Peterborough will be bumped down the list, with priority given to:
• Serving Armed Forces Personnel.
• Those who are working or training for work.
• Those who are homeless, threatened with homelessness or living in unsatisfactory conditions.
• People who need to move for social or welfare reasons.
• Those who make a community contribution and are working to make the city a good place to live.
• Those who failure to assist will cause particular hardship.
The change has come as local councils are given the power to set their own Housing Register qualifying criteria, with the previous open-house rules contributing to a waiting list in Peterborough of more than 9,000.
Cllr Peter Hiller, cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and planning, said: “This review of our Housing Register eligibility criteria is greatly needed, not only to ensure that those who need housing the most are catered for, but also to ensure that we recognise and reward people who are making a difference in their community and trying to better themselves.
“I am also pleased to announced that our proposals give members of our Armed Forces preferential treatment.
“We have seen a sharp rise in the numbers joining the Housing Register in recent years and have found that some of the people applying can afford suitable accommodation elsewhere. Excluding these groups of people from applying will mean that we can help those who are desperately in need of housing.”
The change to the register will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on Monday, which will then be followed by a three-month consultation.
Those who own suitable accomodation or can afford alternative options will be excluded from the register, as would those classed as unsuitable tenants.
To establish a “connection” to Peterborough, they must have lived here for at least six of the last 12 months, or three of the last five years; have immediate family members living in the area for the last five years; work in the city; or moved to the area for special reasons, such as receiving specialist medical care.
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