February 24, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Council and partners launch review of system for allocating social housing

Key in door

Anyone who is using or has used the Cornwall Homechoice housing register to apply for council and housing association homes to rent in Cornwall is being urged to give their thoughts on how the system works and what can be done to improve it.  

The Cornwall Homechoice Scheme is a common housing register where households can register and apply for affordable homes owned and managed by the Council and its partners – collectively known as the Cornwall Homechoice Partnership. This includes homes owned and managed by Aster, Coastline, Cornwall Housing, LiveWest, Ocean, Sanctuary and Westward. 

Social homes are in high demand in Cornwall, with over 22,000 households on the Homechoice register, and we need to manage them in a way that best meets the needs of our residents. We are considering making some changes to the way we allocate social housing in Cornwall. This includes how we let those homes, the priority levels (banding) and how people apply and bid. 

The Cornwall Homechoice Partnership is clear that 

  • applicants should have an open, simple and transparent route to apply and bid for affordable homes 
  • applicants can exercise a degree of choice 
  • there will be appropriate advice and guidance available on alternative housing options  
  • available homes are matched to applicants in most urgent housing need. 

Councillor Olly Monk, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for housing says: 

“Cornwall is faced with an unprecedented housing crisis.  How we allocate social housing needs to be transparent, fair and easily understood by applicants and offer real choice.  We have to prioritise our residents who are in most housing need and must do all that we can to ensure that our most vulnerable residents have access to available homes at a rent they can afford.  

“We also need key workers to support the services we all use, from nurses and teachers to hospitality workers and refuse collectors – and we need to help them find a home they can afford.  

“As a council we are doing all we can to support residents to find the homes they need – from building and buying more homes to working with government to introduce double council tax on second homes and limiting the number of holiday lets through the planning process.  

“As a partnership, we are reviewing the way Homechoice works to provide the best opportunity to support those most in housing need.” 

David Hooper from Ocean Housing and Chair of the Homechoice Partnership said:

“Housing associations in Cornwall are pleased to be working with Cornwall Council on this review. We share a common aim to increase the number of affordable homes in Cornwall, and to make sure those homes are made available to those in need of housing in the most open, customer friendly way possible. Getting feedback from people who have used the Homechoice system is an important part of making sure the system delivers what it needs for Cornwall”. 

This consultation asks a series of questions around four main themes –  

How we let homes 

  • Common Assessment Framework which sets out who qualifies and is eligible to join Cornwall Homechoice 
  • Applying for a home 
  • Cornwall Council’s Allocations Policy 

Cllr Monk adds:

“As well as stakeholders including town and parish councils, we want to hear from those who are or have used Homechoice to find a home for themselves or for others. What has your experience been? What could we do to improve how the system works? Please respond to the consultation and let us know so we can work towards making improvements.” 

This survey will close at 5pm on Friday 25 August 2023

Let’s Talk Social homes | Let’s Talk Cornwall   

The results will be collated and considered and will help inform a set of recommendations to be considered by the Council’s Cabinet later in the year.  

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