City councillor concerned that housing waiting list may be failing those in need

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Peterborough City Council says it's emailed 6,000 applicants about staying on the housing register

The city council has reassured people after concerns were raised they could be removed from the housing waiting list if they didn’t respond to emails.

Peterborough City Councillor Ed Murphy, (Independent, Ravensthorpe) had raised fears this might happen and wrote to Adrian Chapman, Executive Director for Place and Economy.

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Councillor Murphy said: “I understand the Housing Register is currently being reviewed and that the council have emailed all those currently on the waiting list asking them to review some details.

Peterborough City Councillor Ed Murphy.Peterborough City Councillor Ed Murphy.
Peterborough City Councillor Ed Murphy.

“I know it’s not really a waiting list in as most people on the list will never get housed.

“But I am concerned that many people these days do not actually respond to emails and there may be those in need currently on the housing register who will be removed because they haven’t responded to the council’s email.

“I would like additional measures to be made to mitigate these problems."

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In order to apply for housing in Peterborough the council’s housing needs team has a common housing register and a joint allocations policy which was agreed in partnership with ten housing associations who have accommodation in Peterborough. This forms the Peterborough Homes Partnership.

Properties that become available through housing associations in the Peterborough Homes Partnership are advertised through the Choice Based Lettings scheme and Peterborough Homes Housing Jigsaw website.

Councillor Murphy added: “You may be aware that there are certain demographic groups that don’t respond to emails, and they use other forms of electronic communication these days.

“It would be useful I think if somebody from the team telephoned and/or use other means of communication to maximise the number of applicants on the waiting list register.

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“Alternatively, could you guarantee that people are not removed from the register unless it is a result of the review they have undertaken once they have received and responded to an email.”

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said: “To be able to access the housing register and bid for properties requires applicants to log in with an email address, which a large majority of applicants do every week.

“We have emailed approximately 6,000 applicants about staying on the housing register and have already received more than 3,000 responses.

“However, we understand that not everyone has access to an email account, which is why we allow applicants to call us every week to place bids.

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“Only a small number of people choose this option, and we will not be removing them from the register.

“Moreover, if anyone does not respond to our messages and is removed from the register, they can make contact with the service, and we can reassess and reinstate their application.

“We hope this information will reassure people who do not use emails, or do not respond to our emails on this occasion, that they will still be able to remain on the housing register.”

To apply to join the housing register applicants need to complete an online application on the Peterborough Homes Housing Jigsaw website.

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Once registered and logged in, applicants can then click ‘Join the Housing Register’ to start an application.