Brent Council throws thousands of people off its housing waiting list
PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 February 2014
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Brent Council has been accused of "social cleansing" after it changed its housing allocation policy and threw thousands of people waiting for a home off its list.
Brent Council operates the Locata system which means anyone waiting on the list must bid for an empty property. The higher your band, the more likely you are to make a successful bid.
Under the changes anyone placed in band D, its lowest priority group, have been removed from the list and told to seek a home in the private sector.
In a further twist the council has also re-catergorised those waiting in the three remaining bands, A, B and C.
This has resulted in some households in band C being downgraded to the D band and also removed from the list.
Nic Lane, from campaign group Brent Housing Action, said: “Housing is needed in this borough; denying people a step onto the security of permanent housing by removing band D is short-sighted. This is social cleansing, pure and simple.”
After five years on the list, Victoria Bougouneau discovered she had been knocked off it when she tried to log in to Locata to place a bid last week.
She said: “I called the council who told me I had been removed because I was in band D. They told me they were under no obligation to house me. I didn’t receive a letter or email, so I was shocked.
“I am working and was told I need to rent somewhere privately but I can’t afford to, so I have to continue to rely on friends.”
Around 11,000 households are affected by the change – more than half of the estimated 20,000 on the waiting list.
A spokesman for Brent Council said: “The new policy aims to make the fairest use of Brent’s limited social housing stock. Applicants in band D are people who are currently adequately housed.
“Brent Council is committed to providing housing support to residents most in need.”