Thurrock Council housing boss pledges extra help for tenants

TOP Thurrock councillors have agreed ten “tweaks” to its Housing Allocations scheme after a year of operation.

Housing portfolio holder, Cllr Lynn Worrall, told Wednesday (14 January) evening’s meeting of the council’s cabinet: “A year into the scheme it became clear that our first effort was a good one, that few tweaks were needed, but there were some and that’s why this item is here tonight.”

She explained the council had talked with tenants and the public through an internet survey and held meetings with staff, partners and some members to gauge opinions and said: “I would like to say thank you to each of them.”

The changes were agreed and included “updated financial thresholds and having more flexibility around how adapted homes are offered and used – previously four per cent of our adapted homes were advertised as available, but only one in a hundred on the list qualified,” said Cllr Worrall.

She added: “We are also giving officers a little more discretion to make to sheltered housing residents who have to go upstairs to their home and who want to move to the ground floor in their own sheltered complex and making a couple of changes regarding tenants who are downsizing their homes.

“There is also a need for a little more flexibility to be introduced – people with a connection to a village, for example and helping people out of unnecessary social care settings into supported homes after some sheltered homes have been made available; and we have also made some changes to the priority band criteria taking into account carers, people living in homes with severe hazards.

“All of these proposals seem to me to be simple common sense ideas and things we should welcome.”

Cllr Worrall added that changes to legislation meant the council also had to look at how it dealt with people who became homeless.

She said: “We have to look at the changes to law around homelessness and how we deal with it and help people. We can now place homeless people and families into private rented accommodation, but obviously we need to know that these homes and landlords are fit and proper people and places.

“This has been integrated into our Allocations Policy and aims to ensure these vulnerable people are properly and safely housed as quickly as possible while at the same time making sure those claiming support are genuinely homeless.”

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