Views needed on 'extra priority' housing for troopsBy Stephen Lloyd
March 07, 2013
EXTRA housing priority will only be given to wounded soldiers who need specially adapted accommodation under new proposals being put forward by Hart District Council.
At the moment, current and former members of the armed forces can join Hart’s housing register regardless of their local connection.
However, the council says there is a question about what priority to offer them. Hart is now proposing to offer extra priority only to wounded members of the armed forces.
All other current and former members of the armed forces would be treated in the same way as anyone else applying, meaning they may have to wait a number of years before successfully bidding for a housing association property.
Hart is now asking people if it should give extra priority to members and former members of the armed forces as part of a survey on how it handles waiting lists.
Some 1,700 questionnaires are being sent out to people on the housing lists, housing associations, support agencies, parish councils, Hart councillors and parish councils.
The questionnaires can be answered anonymously if required.
The consultation survey is also asking if it should limit those who can join the housing register to people who live, work or have close family in the area.
At the moment, Hart does not stop people without a connection to the district from applying to join our housing register, although other neighbouring councils do.
Hart said it does give extra priority to people with a local connection already, and so very few people without a connection to the area are offered housing association properties each year.
A spokesman said: “Where it does offer a home to someone without a Hart connection, the property is normally for an older person, where the person may need to move for health reasons, or in a less popular area.
“Our current policy allows people in affordable housing to move across council boundaries, just as people in other types of housing can, and allowing people with no connection to the local area to remain on the housing register is one way to help with this.”
The council is also thinking about rewarding good tenants by giving extra priority to people with a good record.
“This would apply only where we are letting newly built affordable homes,” added the spokesman.
“The reason for this is that those tenants with a good track record should help to create a positive, welcoming community as the new homes become occupied.
“It will also mean any affordable housing these tenants leave when they move into a newly built home will be offered to another person on the housing register."
People can complete the questionnaire online by visiting www.harthomes.org.uk. Replies must be in by April 5.