Isle of Man News - POSTED Thu 21-12-2017

Views sought on public sector housing proposals

by LC

Feedback is being sought on proposals aimed at promoting greater fairness in the allocation of public sector housing in the Isle of Man.

The Department of Infrastructure has today, Thursday 21 December 2017, launched a public consultation on plans to modernise the access and eligibility criteria for general needs public sector housing to ensure resources are targeted at those most in need.

The consultation forms part of a wider review of all aspects of housing provision in the Island, with the focus on fairness, affordability and sustainability.

The criteria have not been subject to major revision since they were introduced in 2002 and the Department is proposing a series of changes to update and clarify key measures in relation to eligibility, residency and financial qualification.

Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK said: ‘The Programme for Government recognises the importance of having affordable and accessible housing that meets our social and economic needs. There are about 5,500 general needs public sector houses in the Island, which provide safe and affordable homes for those who may require support at certain stages in their lives.’

He added: ‘Public sector housing receives a substantial subsidy from the taxpayer, so it is important to have a system in place that properly targets our resources.’

A points-based system is used to prioritise the needs of those on the housing waiting list, which currently stands at 663 people.

A range of factors are taken into consideration, including residency, income, number and ages of dependent children and time spent on the waiting list. The total number of points provides an objective measure of priority and determines an applicant’s position on the waiting list.

The consultation intends to modernise and clarify the existing access and eligibility criteria to better reflect changes in society.

People are being asked for their views on proposed changes to local residency requirements, reduced thresholds for savings and financial assets, capping the number of points awarded for time spent on the waiting list and prioritising families with younger children.

Responses can be submitted using the Government consultation hub at https://consult.gov.im/

Further information is available from housing@gov.im and the closing date for comments is 18 February 2018.

Julie Edge MHK, DOI Member with responsibility for Public Estates and Housing, said: ‘the Department is continuing to work with local housing authorities to review access and eligibility criteria. We now wish to gauge public opinion on the proposed changes before they are finalised and taken forward for approval by Tynwald.’

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