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A brand new social housing register is set to come to Redditch this spring.

The new housing register, called Redditch Homes, will use the latest housing policies and a new improved system and website to allocate social homes to people in Redditch Borough.

It is expected to start replacing the current register, Redditch Home Choice, in May.

Redditch Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Cllr Craig Warhurst, said: “We can now roll out our new fairer policy, website, and systems for allocating social housing in Redditch. It has taken a lot of hard work, not to mention patience, after a global pandemic hit during the project. But now this much-needed update will enable us to allocate social homes to the people who need them most, better than ever.

“What it doesn’t change is the fact that demand continues to outstrip supply of course, even as we gear up to build some new council houses in Redditch for the first time in a generation, and we need to be frank about that. Many more people want a social home than there are homes to go around, and the old system frustrated many people who felt a ‘silver’ banding meant they would have a better chance than in reality they did. Redditch Homes will provide applicants with a much clearer picture of how priority is given for the borough’s limited supply of social homes.

“Redditch Homes also rightly gives preference to key workers and armed forces in recognition of their service to the community, and requires that applicants have a local connection to Redditch.”

The borough council is now writing to all the over 1,500 people on the current register with advance details of the coming change, which will mean different outcomes for many people when they re-apply to go on the new register.

For example, the new register will only be open to people with a local connection to Redditch, and the highest priority bands in its all-new simplified 6-band system will be unavailable to people who have had enforcement action taken against them for breaches of tenancy conditions such as non-payment of rent or anti-social behaviour.

The new register will also automatically allocate homes in line with current national housing benefit rules. This includes allocating one bedroom per two siblings to share until the eldest tenth birthday, or sixteenth birthday where the siblings are of the same sex, with discretion for exceptional circumstances.

Council Leader, Cllr Matt Dormer, said: “We put the old system on notice in 2018 when, following consultation, the council voted to update the way social housing was allocated in the borough. Now, after a huge, Covid-delayed change programme, that’s set to come in for a fairer, more transparent system.”

For more information about Redditch Homes and the way social housing is allocated in Redditch, visit www.redditchbc.gov.uk/homes.