New council housing rules will result in 23,000 households being kicked off the list
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
If you are waiting for a council house in the Camden part of Kilburn or Cricklewood you will be forced to reapply.
New rules rubber-stamped by Camden Council yesterday will see a tighter criteria as to who can get a home from January.
The decision means up to 23,000 households will be wiped off entirely and no longer be eligible to apply for one of Camden’s council houses.
Those currently on the waiting list could also lose the “points” that they have accumulated over the years, which are used by the council to prioritise those most in need of housing.
People who want a council home will now have to prove they have lived in the borough for at least five of the last seven years.
Those no longer eligible for a home also include those with financial assets or savings of more than £32,000.
The council will also make it much harder to apply for a new home because of overcrowding. It will count any rooms other than kitchens, utility rooms, and bathrooms as potential bedrooms, including living and dining rooms.
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But families with vulnerable and very young children will now be prioritised and moved up the waiting list, one of the few new rules welcomed by campaigners.
Last night, furious protesters gathered outside the Camden town hall and heckled councillors from the public gallery during a cabinet meeting to approve the changes.
Grace Livingstone, a housing campaigner and member of the Camden Resists protest group, said: “It’s terrible. The council have abandoned the basic principles of council housing, that it should be available for all.
“It will drastically reduce the number of people who can get on the list, and will impact the most on working families in Camden.”
Green councillor Sian Berry, who supports the protesters, said: “There are single mums who are massively overcrowded and who are now going to lose all their points, and some might not even be able to rejoin the waiting list at all.”
Cllr Pat Callaghan, Camden Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “The new allocation policy is not about saving money, it is about making our outdated system fairer and helping local people most in need to get a home at a time of affordable housing crisis in our borough.
“The new scheme will give higher priority to local people to foster sustainable communities and help to tackle child poverty by enabling families living in severely overcrowded conditions to find new homes.
“It will also strengthen provision for vulnerable adults, people with disabilities and carers.”
The changes come a year after 11,000 households waiting for a council homes in neighbouring Brent were booted off their list due to a change to their allocation policy.