Tuesday, 11 November 2008

New scheme gives tenants freedom of choice over social housing

A NEW service to give people on housing waiting lists more freedom to find suitable homes for themselves is set to go live across the county next month.
Currently, anybody on a council or housing association register is allocated a property according to their individual need, which is based on a point-scoring system.
From December 10, Homefinder Somerset, however, will replace existing council and housing association waiting lists.
It will scrap the points system and instead put tenants into three different priority bands - gold, silver, and bronze - according to need.
Tenants will be able to see every housing association and council house property in Somerset as it become available to let and can bid for the one they want.
West Somerset Council is a member of the partnership of local authorities and housing associations which have joined together to create the Government-led scheme.
Tenants need to register for social housing in order to be able to join the scheme, and anybody already on the housing register will need to re-register with Homefinder Somerset.
West Somerset housing portfolio holder, Councillor Kate Kravis, said: “Homefinder Somerset is a fairer scheme as it gives house hunters a wider choice of rental homes and more freedom to select properties that suit their needs.
“Previously, people were allocated homes and they had little say in the matter.
“From December 10, all other housing waiting lists and registers close.
“We have written to our customers to let them know of the changes but we would like to remind them, and new applicants, to contact the council so that we can help them register with Homefinder.
“It is easy to register and we are here to help.”
More information about Homefinder Somerset is available by visiting www.homefindersomerset.co.uk or emailing the council at customerservices@westsomerset.gov.uk or calling 01643 703704.

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