Housing Allocations: Labour secures review of one offer only policy

Labour councillors on Barnet’s Housing Committee have secured a review of the one offer only policy in the council’s housing allocations process following high profile examples where the policy is coming under scrutiny – at Sweets Way for example.

In the council’s housing allocations process, any resident applying for council housing or being re-housed by the council is only allowed one ‘reasonable’ offer of housing from the council which they must accept or face being excluded from the housing list for two years. The policy was first implemented last year, and since then a number of cases have emerged where there has been real hardship as a result of the inflexibility of the one offer only policy. Residents feel the one offer has not been reasonable or for personal reasons have not been able to moveExamples include where the home offered is too far away from schools, relatives, GPs and other support networks – often out of the borough or London.

Labour’s Housing Spokesperson, Cllr Ross Houston, submitted a member’s item to the Housing Committee on Monday this week, setting out that the one offer policy had been in operation for six months and should be reviewed.

The policy was introduced by the council because of the shortage of council homes and other affordable homes in the borough.

Labour’s Housing Spokesperson, Cllr Ross Houston said: “I welcome that all members of the Housing Committee agreed that this policy needs reviewing, and look forward to the report that is brought back to the next committee.

“Labour councillors voted against the one offer policy when it was introduced on the basis that it would cause real hardship and difficulty for some people who felt unable to accept the first housing offer for practical reasons and often due to family circumstances. Allowing a second offer to be made will lead to fairer outcomes for families.

“The long term solution is to get on and build more homes that people can afford.”

Ends.

Notes: 

1. A copy of Cllr Houston’s Member’s Item can be found here: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s24070/Members%20Item%20Report.pdf

2. Details of the Sweets Way housing cases can be found here:

http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/11891213.Campaigners_say_they_face_an__uncertain__future_as_Sweets_Way_judge_rules_against_them/

https://sweetswayresists.wordpress.com/

http://www.barnetlabour.co.uk/sweets_way_highlights_problem_with_barnet_s_housing_crisis

http://www.barnetlabour.co.uk/labour_calls_for_halt_to_sweets_way_evictions

http://www.barnetlabour.co.uk/sweets_way_families_turfed_out_in_appalling_evictions_to_make_way_for_luxury_flats 
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For further details contact:

Labour's Housing Spokesperson, Cllr Ross Houston: cllr.r.houston@barnet.gov.uk

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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