BCBC’s Cabinet is set to approve changes to social housing allocation policies (SHAP) in the county (pdf).
Three housing associations that operate in Bridgend (Linc, Hafod, Wales & West) allocate all of their vacancies under the SHAP; Valleys 2 Coast allocate 75% of vacancies, the rest under their own system.
At the moment, applicants are divided into three bands for waiting list purposes on the Common Housing Register (pdf): Priority Cases, Band A and Band B.
Priority and Band A cover defined groups that are in urgent need of housing such as the disabled, registered homeless, those who lose homes due to disasters, people fleeing domestic violence, those living in overcrowded conditions, witness protection, veterans and those at risk of eviction due to the “bedroom tax”.
You need to have a “proven local connection” too, either having lived or worked in the area for a certain amount of time or having family members who live in the area.
Band B covers those who are in non-urgent housing need but still need to move for a specific reason (i.e. disability, work) including those with no proven local connection.
25% of social housing vacancies are reserved for Band B; 75% for Priority and Band A.
BCBC and the housing associations propose creating a new Band C. This will cover people who have no current housing need but are willing to relocate to “areas of low demand” and who meet the requirements of a new Local Letting Policy.
The Local Letting Policy has aims such as retaining locally-connected people in rural areas, protecting the Welsh language, moving essential public workers closer to their place of work, people who need to downsize due to the “bedroom tax” (but not urgently) and to encourage town centre living.
Broadly-speaking, the new Band C will cover those who are in work but who currently struggle to afford housing by themselves or are on low incomes.