Residents who are assessed as having an urgent need for social housing will be given priority in a new policy which launches in April this year.
The Council's new Housing Allocations Policy sees a change from the five existing bands in the housing list to three new bands: Band A, B and Housing Options Band.
Applicants with an 'urgent housing need' or a 'high housing need' will be placed in Bands A and B, respectively.
These individuals have the following needs and, from April, will be able to actively bid for properties that are advertised each week:
-Someone who is homeless
-Living in overcrowded conditions
-Living in poor, unsatisfactory housing
-Needing to move due to having an urgent or high medical need or on welfare grounds
-Needing to move to a locality to avoid hardship.
Individuals with no statutory need will be placed in the Housing Options band and whilst they will be unable to bid for any vacant properties, they will be given details of other housing options.
This includes properties that were not allocated to anyone in bands A and B, home ownership and other options that might be available such as those detailed on our website at: https://www.westcheshirehomes.co.uk/Choice/content.aspx?pageid=3
All current applicants on the housing register, are currently in the process of being assessed and the Council will be writing to those households affected in March to inform them of their new banding.
Councillor Matt Bryan, cabinet member for housing, planning and climate emergency, said:
"Local authorities are required to have a housing allocation scheme.
Over the last five years, the number of households on the register has increased.
There are currently over eight thousand households on the register waiting for social housing.
Unfortunately, the situation means that most people will never be offered a property as only 1,228 properties became available during the last financial year with each vacancy receiving between 30-40 applicant bids.
"The new Common Allocations Policy was widely consulted on in 2019 and we were pleased to have received feedback from over 560 respondents, which was largely very positive about the proposed key changes.
This resulted in the policy being approved by full Council in March 2020.
However, the launch of the new policy was delayed until 5 April 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our new Common Allocations Policy ensures individuals with the greatest housing need continue to access social housing whilst being more open and transparent with those applicants who are assessed as having no statutory housing need.