Story: Douglas Johnson
Burngreave has many Council and Housing Association tenants who face several changes in housing policy.
Council tenants will already have received ballot papers asking if they support or oppose the Council taking Sheffield Homes back in house. If the proposal goes ahead, homes will be managed directly by the Council although, in practice, by the same staff and offices. The ballot closes on 10th February and the outcome will guide the Council’s decision, even though it does not have to follow it.
The Council is also consulting on the way it lets its houses – many of which belong to Housing Associations. The Government is changing the way councils allocate homes. It is a difficult task for the Council to get a balance between people who really need to move house and those who just want to. At present about 34% of all council houses are let to people who have no recorded need to move.
Council tenants are seeing a big increase in rent. At 7.8% the increase is well above inflation and is linked to the Government’s cut in housing subsidy to the city. However, the council is not increasing district heating charges.
Finally, the future holds yet more cuts in housing benefit, not just for private tenants but also for many council tenants. Older people will be particularly affected, especially those whose children have left home. Under Government plans, these older people will see their benefit cut to encourage them to move out of their family homes. However, no-one will be forced to move.