Residents could soon be invited to have their say on how social housing is allocated across Wokingham borough.
Wokingham Borough Council hopes to seek people's views on its new draft housing allocation policy, which it is updating because of changes in the law and an unprecedented increase in demand for accommodation caused largely by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
These pressures are exacerbated by shifts in how people are working, with many more based at home than before the outbreak, and rising costs across the private rental sector as more prospective tenants chase fewer properties.
Costs have also increased in the construction industry, again because of Covid-19, and this has a knock-on effect on the owners of shared equity homes.
If a six-week public consultation is approved at a meeting of the authority’s executive on Thursday (30 September), residents will be invited to share their thoughts from early October until the end of November.
The council's housing allocation policy was last updated more than six years ago, and the latest version includes several important updates to ensure it continues to help as many local residents as possible.
These include the addition of a fifth priority band to help us understand applicants’ needs more clearly and assist the most urgent cases first.
Once all feedback has been reviewed, it could be adopted in January next year before coming into effect from April onwards.
Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for finance and housing, said: “Housing plays a huge role in the health, environment and economic well-being of everyone who lives in the borough and this proposal will ensure we continue to prioritise residents whose need is greatest.
“Without a doubt, the pandemic has played a significant part in this problem and increasing rents and housing costs across the borough are unlikely to change in the short term.
“As such, we need robust and clear policies which protect and make good quality social housing available for our most vulnerable residents.”
Further details will be published shortly on the borough council’s website and paper versions of the proposal will be made available on request.
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