In 2006 the seven districts in our housing sub-region launched Home-Link, a system to help people choose the home they would live in, rather than being ‘allocated’ a home by the local authority.
The idea is that people are more engaged in the decision of where to live; have more control over what kind of home and location they would settle best in; and would bid for, and eventually move to, a home and an area they wanted to settle in.
Choice does not increase the supply of homes available. It can still take a long time to find and successfully bid for a property.
The process (briefly) is:
- Home-Link advertises available council and housing association homes across the sub-region, on-line every 2 weeks.
- Existing council and housing association tenants who wish to transfer to a different property and new applicants seeking a home can use the system to see the homes coming up for let.
- They then decide whether they want to be considered for any of the properties. If yes, they express an interest by making a ‘bid’. People can get help with bidding if needed by approaching their council or housing association.
- Home-Link offers choice about where people want to live and gives a clear picture of the housing available across the housing sub-region. The system gives feedback on previously advertised homes, to show the level of housing need of the successful bidder and how long they had been waiting.
Everyone registering on Home-Link is put in a ‘band’ summarised as Band A urgent need, Band B high need, Band C medium need, and Band D. To find out more please visit the Home-Link website.
Own your own home
In 2015 the goverment launched a new web resource called Own Your Own Home.
It aims to help people "discover all the schemes that could make your dream of owning your own home a reality".
Help to Buy"If you want to purchase a home of your own, but can’t afford to buy on the open market, Help to Buy could be your way onto the property ladder. The Government has created the Help to Buy scheme to help you take your first steps into home ownership. There are a number of Help to Buy products designed to make buying a home more affordable. You can buy a home using one of the home ownership options, or rent a home at less than the market rent, allowing you to save for a future deposit."
This link takes you to the Help To Buy website.
bpha has been running Help to Buy in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent since Spring 2014.
Town Hall Lettings
Town Hall Lettings was formed in January 2014, responding to the needs of local landlords and the needs of people seeking accommodation. The team discovered that
- Landlords might be nervous of renting properties to people on low incomes. They wanted assurances that rent would be paid on time, that tenants would be suitable and that their properties would be treated with respect.
- People struggle to find somewhere to live because they had an unproven tenancy history, they couldn’t provide a guarantor, or they could not find accommodation whilst out of work. Affordable accommodation was incredibly difficult to find – and the quality of available accommodation was often poor.
So Town Hall Lettings was formed - a social lettings service - providing good quality, local, affordable accommodation to people who needed it – and providing a deal to landlords that would make good financial sense.
Since 2014 the service has grown and expanded, working with some great local landlords and helping turn people’s lives around as a result of being housed.
Town Hall Lettings is looking for good-quality homes for families, single people and house-sharers in Cambridge and the surrounding areas. To find out more please visit the Town Hall Lettings website.