By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter
It is likely that many people on Lewisham’s housing register will never move into social homes, according to a new 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 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, who approved it on Wednesday.
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.
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.
Pictured top: Lewisham civic centre
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.