FENLANDER: Changes proposed to social housing lettings policy

IMPORTANT changes are being proposed to the current rules governing anyone applying for social housing in Fenland.

They are in response to the Government’s Localism Act and welfare reforms. If approved, they will come into force in April 2013.

They could mean that some people may have restrictions put on their entry to the housing register, have their banding changed or the size of the property they are eligible for amended.

The proposals come from the Home-Link lettings scheme operated across the whole of the Cambridgeshire sub-region, which includes Fenland.

Everyone currently on the register is now being given the chance to have their say on the impact the proposals could have on them.

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The proposed changes to the lettings policy include:

• Applicants will need a local connection with their council area to be eligible to apply. At the moment anyone can apply.

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• Former Armed Forces personnel will be allowed on to the housing register even if they don’t have a local connection. They will be given some priority based on their length of service and according to their needs.

• People will only be offered properties that are the right size for them.

Councillor Kit Owen, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder responsible for housing, said: “Local homes for local people is what we want to provide and these changes would help to secure that. The proposals are prompted by changes introduced by the Government. Now we want to hear people’s views on how they might affect them.”

Two other changes are proposed. The Home-Link website will be improved to provide more information and make it easier and quicker for customers to apply online.

The Home-Link magazine will be withdrawn in January 2013 and replaced by a new system of e-mail reminders for people who sign up for them and fortnightly mailings for those who cannot access the website.

Staff at Roddons and Fenland@ your service shops will still be available to answer queries and help with online bidding.

• For full details on the proposals and how to have your say, visit www.fenland.gov.uk/article/5651/Home-Link-Consultation or call in at one of the Fenland @ your service shops.

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