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Council looks for fairest way to allocate affordable housing

Should people from outside the county be put on the waiting list for affordable housing and are there certain groups who should be given priority? These are some of the questions Herefordshire Council is asking tenants, both prospective and existing, as it reviews the way affordable housing is allocated.

At the moment, anyone can apply for affordable housing in Herefordshire, but there are nearly 5,000 people on the waiting list and only about 19 properties becoming available each week.  The waiting list continues to grow and the council has to decide how to prioritise who can access affordable housing in a way that is fair to everyone.

The council issued a short questionnaire earlier this summer to find out what Herefordshire people think is important when allocating housing, and who should get priority.  This is available on the council’s website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/housing.  The council has also organised a couple of public meetings where people can talk to housing officers, ask questions and give their views. These take place on:

Wednesday, 5th September, 7-9pm at Earl Mortimer College in Leominster
Monday, 10th September, 1-3pm at The Kindle Centre, ASDA, Hereford

Anyone interested in attending the meetings is advised to contact the housing team in advance if they can on 01432 260641 so they have an idea of numbers to plan for.

Councillor Russell B. Hamilton, cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “Housing is a real issue in Herefordshire.  This is a subject that affects all of us in one way or another.  Although investments are being made to boost the number of affordable homes available for rent, these developments can’t keep up with demand.

“We need to protect the most vulnerable members of our society and to ensure that the way we allocate resources is done in the fairest way possible for the benefit of everyone in Herefordshire.  The simple fact is that like any business or household we have a finite level of resources and need to make the most from them. 

“I know that people often say that the council does not listen to them but we can only work with the feedback we get.  Like any policy review it is important that we get as many views as possible – they will all be taken into consideration before any recommendations for change are made to the council’s cabinet for consideration.