It is likely that “many of those” on Lewisham’s housing register will never move into social homes, according to a report.  

The report on the council’s housing allocations policy review showed that despite 363 families waiting to get a five-bedroom home in 2019/20, only one was let.  

The allocations policy sets out the council’s approach to allocating homes. 

There are almost 10,000 households on the waiting list in Lewisham. 

With the housing crisis as a backdrop, the council is planning to change around the way it allocates homes to “ensure that applicants with most acute need are prioritised”.  

According to the report: “It would take over nine years to provide social homes to everyone on the housing register if the number of available homes stays the same, and if no more households are added to the register.  

“It is likely that many of those on our register will never move into social housing.” 

Cllr Paul Bell, cabinet member for housing and planning, presented the report to mayor and cabinet on Wednesday (November 11), who approved it.  

He said: “The crisis that we keep talking about is still with us despite our best efforts at building and enabling more social homes.” 

The proposed policy prioritises reducing the number of homeless households who are living in “unsuitable and costly temporary accommodation”, as well as those with too much space or severe overcrowding.  

It aims to support those fleeing violence, members of the armed forces, and moving vulnerable households who are in supported accommodation to independent living.  

Regeneration is also a priority – people being moved from estates earmarked for demolition remain in the top band.  

The report highlights various challenges, including a “worsening lack of supply to match demand”.  

“There are now almost 10,000 households on the housing register, and on average we let around 1,000 properties,” it states. 

The council expects even lower rates in 2020/21 because of Covid-19. 

In 2019/20, 3,814 households were on the waiting list for a two-bed, and only 305 were let, while 986 were waiting for a four-bed and 27 were let.  

News Shopper:

The council spent £3 milllion on housing people in temporary accommodation in the past year – as of September 2020 almost 2,500 households are in TA, an increase of almost 650 compared to March 2017. 

The current banding system is divided into Band 1: Emergency, Band 2: High, and Band 3: Priority.   

The proposed banding is Band 1: Emergency, Band 2: High, Band 3: Medium, and Band 4: Low. 

Band 1 includes those being moved out of estates set for regeneration, those leaving care, and those leaving a home – this will remain the same.  

News Shopper:

‘Homeless with additional need’ will be moved to High, current rehousing reasons within the High band will be placed in Medium, and ‘medical high’ will be moved in to High instead of Medium. 

The council is also proposing to introduce an “overcrowded by three bed” rehousing reason in High.  

‘Overcrowded by one bed’ will be placed within the new Low priority. 

A ‘smart letting’ scheme is also set to be introduced, whereby 20 per cent of available homes will be ringfenced for transfer applicants who are already living in social housing, and it would ensure that the home they leave is given to someone living in the private rental sector (PRS) or TA.   

The council also plans to increase how many bids someone can make so “that they can bid for multiple properties per week”. 

If the child of a parent is over 21, they will be excluded from the ‘overcrowded by three bed’ rehousing reason, “unless they are a dependent or are caring for another adult or adults in the household”. 

The proposed changes are set to go to the housing select committee next week.  

A 12-week public consultation is expected to launch in late November.