THOUSANDS of people with little or no chance of getting social housing are to be given an ‘uncomfortable truth’ and moved onto a different waiting list.

There are currently around 9,000 people on Cheshire West and Chester Council’s register for social housing across five bands of varying need.

But demand for property massively outweighs supply – with only 1,228 properties allocated to residents on the register in 2018-19, and the council receiving 30 to 40 bids for each home.

Now, CWAC is changing its social housing allocations policy in an attempt to make the process fairer – and it means around 7,000 residents will be advised to look elsewhere for housing.

Cllr Richard Beacham, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and growth, told a scrutiny meeting on Monday: “There’s an uncomfortable truth in all this in that getting housing is a difficult situation at the moment and we want people to be able to have some hope in that system.

Winsford Guardian:

“Where there is a very low likelihood of them getting housing because they are perhaps not in need, I think we need to be honest about that.”

In 2018-19, only six per cent of properties were allocated to people in the lowest band of housing need, but that band has the highest number of people applying for homes.

Under the new system, the five bands will be cut down to three:

  • Band A for residents with the most urgent housing need
  • Band B for residents with a high housing need
  • Band C for residents without a statutory housing need, who will be given support to find alternative accommodation

Cllr Beacham told CWAC’s places overview and scrutiny committee that based on August 2019’s waiting list, 90 people would be placed onto Band A, 1,523 would be in Band B and 7,152 would be in Band C.

He added: “That is difficult, but it means that we are focusing on the 1,600 people in our borough with the highest priority need and spending our time and resources trying to make sure they do get housing when they need it.

“And if the situation changes for people in Band C, then obviously that will be reviewed and they will be put into the upper bands.”

CWAC carried out a public consultation on the plans last autumn and 566 people took part.

More than 70 per cent of those who responded supported the new bands – although that reduced to 54 per cent support for Band C becoming a ‘housing options band’.

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Cllr Elton Watson, Conservative CWAC member for Davenham, Moulton and Kingsmead, said: “It’s absolutely the right approach that we prioritise the properties to those with the greatest need, so I am fully supportive of what is proposed to go before cabinet as is.”

CWAC’s cabinet will make a final decision on the plans at a future meeting.