District needs 600 more affordable homes each year

Homeless person
Homeless person

Six hundred more affordable homes are needed in the district each year until 2021, to address a social housing shortage.

Less than 3,000 social properties became available for re-letting last year.

17th November 2009.
 feature with councillors Olivia Rowley(red top) , Denise Jeffery and Maureen Cummings(glasses) about their early days on the campaign trail for Retro.

17th November 2009. feature with councillors Olivia Rowley(red top) , Denise Jeffery and Maureen Cummings(glasses) about their early days on the campaign trail for Retro.

Yet more than 126,800 bids were made for homes through Wakefield District Housing (WDH) lettings site Homesearch, which lets each household make up to three bids per week.

Nearly 23,000 people who are looking to rent social housing are currently registered on the joint Wakefield Council and WDH waiting list.

And, of these, more than 3,300 are classed as high priority.

This includes people who are forces personnel, sleeping rough, statutorily homeless, or have medical or welfare needs.

Meanwhile, the number of households in temporary accommodation rose to 122 in 2015/16 and 651 people applied to the council to be recognised as statutorily homeless.

The figures are listed in the council’s 2017 Tenancy Strategy, which sets out the authority’s views on how registered housing providers including WDH, Together Housing, Yorkshire Housing and Riverside could best use their housing stock.

This year’s strategy comes after the government scrapped housing benefits for people aged under 22, whilst the Local Housing Allowance for those under 35, with no children, renting in the private sector has been restricted.

The report, discussed by cabinet members at a meeting this week, warns that affordable housing supply in the district is not keeping pace with demand.

Speaking at the meeting on Tuesday Coun Olivia Rowley, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We are forcing families into the private sector because it is cheaper and there aren’t enough social housing facilities available.”

“It’s the worst situation in a lifetime,” she added.

Council leader Coun Peter Box called for the issue of rising homelessness in the district to be discussed at the next meeting of the full council.

“We will continue to make the case for better housing, for more housing and for affordable housing”, he said.