Flats will go to the young

PUBLISHED: 12:49 05 January 2007 | UPDATED: 22:28 28 May 2010

Cllr Kit Owen: Power to vary the allocation plan

Cllr Kit Owen: Power to vary the allocation plan

AS many as one in three of all one-bedroom council owned flats in Fenland are to be made available to young people as they become vacant. The district council says until now supported housing for young people in Fenland has been uncoordinated, with provi

AS many as one in three of all one-bedroom council owned flats in Fenland are to be made available to young people as they become vacant.

The district council says until now supported housing for young people in Fenland "has been uncoordinated, with providers acting in isolation".

Karen Wickham, strategy and enabling officer for Fenland Council, says that in the past young people "were not necessarily being housed in the most appropriate accommodation or receiving the most appropriate support".

The council has adopted a new allocations policy to ensure young people are housed and supported, including those leaving care. Up to 30 flats a year become available to re-let and a third of these will enter the new allocations scheme.

A new joint allocation panel will now take on the job of housing young people and Ms Wickham says the new arrangements will replace the ad hoc basis under which young people entered the housing waiting list.

The expertise of the new panel will ensure that permanent housing will go "to the young people who are likely to successfully maintain a tenancy and that their ongoing support needs are assessed and plans put in place to meet them".

Not only will the council now make a third of its single person flats available to the panel to allocate to young people, but it has given the portfolio holder for housing, Councillor Kit Owen, approval to vary the percentage by up to 15 per cent in either direction.

Annual estimates of the move-on need from housing projects in Fenland suggests up to 40 young people need more permanent housing.

And there are currently 17 Fenland 16/17 year-olds in care who could soon be looking for their own homes in the district.

Ms Wickham says providing single person flats "will provide a strong incentive to individuals to achieve independence".

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