Following recent approval by the Social Work and Housing Committee, Aberdeenshire Council is engaging with key partners and all elected members to shape the way the authority allocates housing to people on its waiting list.
Tenant groups and area committees will be looking at the proposed changes to the housing allocation policy which include the introduction of a banding system instead of a points system and the requirement to choose a minimum number of areas.
Proposals also include giving additional priority to applicants with a local connection to Aberdeenshire and people leaving the armed services.
Welfare benefits in relation to occupancy and housing benefit are due to change in April 2013 and therefore the council proposes to adapt its policy to be flexible around the size of accommodation offered to people.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Social Work and Housing Committee Councillor Karen Clark said: “The changes aim to take better account of people’s housing needs and personal circumstances as well as making the application process easier to understand and the policy will have input from area committees and tenant groups.
“Once agreed the proposals are due to start being implemented from April 2013 and this timing also ensures that a more flexible policy is in place to take account of housing benefit changes around occupancy too, which is vital.”
Vice chair Alisan Norrie added: “It is important that the policy meets the needs of our residents and with over 7,000 people waiting for housing an easier way to find housing will be welcomed.
“The housing team has carried out a great deal of research with other authorities as well as ensuring it fits with current legislation, factors such as the UK Government’s welfare changes and also the common housing register apply4homes.”
Input and comment on the draft proposals is being encouraged from any interested groups or individuals including community councils.
Further information about the proposed changes to the allocation policy is available from any housing office, local tenants’ organisation or councillor and information is also available on the council’s website at http://bit.ly/Vi1iRB
Further information regarding changes to housing benefits in relation to the number of rooms occupied is also available at: http://bit.ly/Sz1hts
Councillors across Aberdeenshire are being asked to consider and provide comment on the draft proposals before the final report on the Council House Allocation Policy is provided to the Social Work and Housing Committee on February 21.