Agenda item



The Committee considered the report of its Task and Finish Group established to develop an Emergency Social Housing Allocations Policy for Carmarthenshire to address the unprecedented situation where the Council, as with all Welsh Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords, was facing increased demand over supply for social housing.


The report detailed the Group’s work, incorporating a proposed Emergency Allocations Policy, where it was proposed that future allocations for social housing in Carmarthenshire would be via ‘direct matching’ whereby the Council would allocate all available properties according to set criteria to those presenting as homeless and in greater housing need. If the proposal was adopted, it was further proposed the emergency policy would be in place for approximately one year to enable a full review to be undertaken of the ‘Common Allocations Policy’ which would need to be suspended whilst the emergency policy was in operation. It was also noted that if the policy were to be adopted, and not all available properties could be allocated at a given point, those unallocated would be made available via ‘Canfod Cartref – Home Finder’ for people to bid for, as at present.


The Committee’s appreciation was extended to the Task and Finish Members and the officers involved in the review for their work in developing the proposed Emergency Allocations Policy


The following questions/issues were raised on the report:-

·       It was confirmed that should an available property not be directly matched, in accordance with set criteria, it would be advertised on ‘Canfod Cartref – Home Finder’ for those on the Housing Register to bid for as at present.

·       Reference was made to the current bidding system whereby properties were advertised at midnight on a Thursday until midnight the following Monday and to the fact some people were staying up until midnight on the Thursday to lodge their bid early. It was suggested the start time be amended to say 6.00 a.m. on the Friday morning.


The Committee was advised that whilst that was possible, the window for people to submit a bid was open for four days, and a bid could be submitted at any time within that window. It was also confirmed that allocation of a property was made on need and not the time a bid was submitted. The Head of Homes and Safer Communities advised that he would examine the wording on Canfod Cartref to clarifying the bidding process.

·       With regard to a question on the level of temporary accommodation being provided to the homeless, the Head of Homes and Safer Communities advised that whilst the allocation of properties was a tool to address homelessness, there were other avenues available to the Council in that regard including, building more properties, use of the private rented sector and buying properties.


He further confirmed while the Council always endeavoured to house those presenting to the department as homeless in areas close to their home / families etc, that was not always possible. Currently, the Council had 146 people housed in temporary accommodation at a cost of up to £100 per night. The Welsh Government, in accepting the homeless pressures faced by local government at the current time, had allocated additional funding to help meet those costs, with Carmarthenshire’s share amounting to £0.5m.


·       Reference was made to the introduction of the Emergency Policy being a temporary measure for approximately one year. It was suggested the members of the Task and Finish Group should meet with officers every two months to evaluate its implementation



UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that it be recommended to Cabinet/Council that:



the Emergency Interim Social Housing Allocation Policy be approved;


the current Choice Based Lettings Policy be suspended for approximately one year, and the Emergency Interim Social Housing Allocation Policy be implemented;


the Communities, Homes and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee receive updates at every meeting on the effectiveness of the change;


the content of the update reports include data for the previous period referring to:

·       Proportion of properties directly matched and those advertised;

·       Banding of clients matched;

·       Number of properties directly matched and advertised by each community area, type of property and landlord;

·       Proportion of direct matches that were successful;

·       Number of direct matches where the clients requests a review of the allocation and the outcome of those reviews;

·       Number of direct matches where the client refuses the allocation but doesn’t request a review



 UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that members of the Task and Finish Group meet every 2 months to monitor the Emergency Policy’s implementation



RESOLVED that the current system of advertising properties on ‘Canfod Cartref – Home Finder’ commencing at midnight on Thursday be retained.


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