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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 1999): Social Housing - UK

ALL TOGETHER NOW

L Dwelly

Roof, vol. 24, Sept/Oct. 1999, p. 14-15

By combining Housing Corporation and local authority grant resources, councils can get a better deal from registered social landlords and can plan their building programmes further ahead. They can impose quality controls to ensure developments have affordable rents, decent space standards, etc.

COUNCIL HOME DISCOUNT MAY BE SCRAPPED

J Allardyce

Times, Sept. 2nd 1999, p. 2

Reports that ministers in the Scottish Parliament intend to bring forward a housing bill to tackle homelessness that would deny council house tenants any discount if they exercise their right to buy.

HAPPY RETURNS: THE INDIVIDUAL INVESTOR AS A SOURCE OF NEW CAPITAL FOR RENTED HOUSING IN A TIME OF CHANGING SOCIAL WELFARE STRUCTURES

J Hughes

Housing Studies, vol. 14, 1999, p. 507-524

Paper explores the possibility of individuals becoming more involved in investing capital in rented housing, both private and public, based on a survey of shareholders in companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Results suggest there is some interest in such investment among current shareholders with considerable assets. Argues there is a group of ethical investors who would be willing to invest in rented housing, some of whom may be willing to accept a lower rate of return on rented housing than on competing investments.

HOME OR AWAY? TACKLING YOUTH HOMELESSNESS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

J Gunner

London: Centrepoint, 1999

Report reveals that increasing numbers of young people in rural areas are sleeping rough because of a lack of affordable housing. The lack of low-cost private rented housing is made worse in many areas by tourism and housing benefit restrictions on those under 25. Report recommends that more accommodation should be provided for young people in need, including non-hostel-based emergency shelters. Housing benefit restrictions on people under 25 should be lifted, and the minimum wage extended to cover 16 and 17 year olds.

HOMELESSNESS, NEED AND DESERT IN THE ALLOCATION OF COUNCIL HOUSING

S Fitzpatrick and M Stephens

Housing Studies, vol. 14, 1999, p. 413-431

Argues for the introduction of a UK national allocation framework for social housing based on three principles:

  • allocation according to long-term deprivation;
  • avoidance of the concentration of homeless households on the least desirable estates;
  • need to sustain public support for social rented housing.

These elements imply allocation policies which deal with homeless households as an integral part of their operations. Rather than have a special homeless category, such inclusive allocation systems would be designed to identify all forms of long-term housing deprivation.

HOUSING AND HEALTH: PARTNERSHIP WORKING AT A REGIONAL LEVEL

R Barnes

Managing Community Care, vol. 7, August 1999, p. 15-22

Paper describes a partnership between the NHS Executive and the Housing Corporation in London to develop a joint work programme with the objectives of promoting a better understanding of the interface between housing and health and establishing healthy housing strategies through partnership working. Progress has been made to date in mapping organisational roles regionally, auditing current practice locally and holding seminars for housing and health professionals.

HOUSING TRANSFERS IN ENGLAND: DEALING WITH OVERHANGING DEBT AND ALTERING THE LSVT LEVEY: CONSULTATION PAPER

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

London: 1999

Outlines proposals to help councils transfer housing to registered social landlords in cases where the sale price of the transferred stock would be less than the debt attributed. The options are:

  • to retain the debt within the local authority's HRA and service it through the HRA subsidy system;
  • to transfer the debt to the local authority's general fund and service it through the Revenue Support Grant System;
  • to provide a one-off grant to assist in dealing with the debt and take the local authority out of the HRA subsidy system;
  • to transfer the debt from the local authority to the acquiring RSL.

LAST DAYS OF COUNCIL LANDLORDS?

Anon

Labour Research, vol. 88, July 1999, p. 17-18

Reports on the accelerating rate of transfers of council housing stock to registered social landlords, and the implications of this for tenants.

MAJORITY VIEW

P Williams and S Stevens

Roof, vol. 24, Sept./Oct. 1999, p. 9

Surrey evidence suggests that 80% of households aspire to be home owners. The forthcoming housing green paper should address their aspirations and needs in terms of access to, and sustainability of, home ownership.

NEW SOLUTIONS TO STREET HOMELESSNESS

S Ghosh

Managing Community Care, vol. 7, August 1999, p. 23-26

People who sleep rough tend to have complex and longstanding problems including drug and/or alcohol dependence, mental health problems, a history of offending, a troubled family background, etc. Argues that a guarantee of assessment, support and help in finding accommodation is needed for everyone sleeping rough.

REPORT OF THE ALLOCATIONS AND HOMELESSNESS TASK GROUP

London: Local Government Association, 1999

(LGA Circular; 488/99)

Report attacks housing rules which exclude vulnerable people on an indefinite basis for undermining efforts to end social exclusion. Argues that more must be done to ensure that the circumstances of each individual are fully taken into account and highlights a danger that vulnerable applicants face exclusion for previous bad behaviour which could itself be attributed to lack of support from statutory authorities. Report highlights inconsistencies between housing register and allocations and homelessness rules, inadequate assistance for homeless people without legal priority and complex rules for housing people from abroad.

RUB OF THE GREEN

G Corbett

Roof, vol. 24, Sept./Oct. 1999, p. 15

Reports that the Scottish Executive has set up a new homelessness task force to review the current situation and develop a coherent policy.

STILL LOCKED OUT

R Bayley

Roof, vol. 24, Sept./Oct. 1999, p. 23-25

Social landlords could carve out a role for themselves at the heart of the government's drive to end social exclusion by developing ways of working with families with multiple problems. Instead, many simply exclude potentially difficult tenants from their registers.

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