Harlow Council leader gives more details on new housing allocation policy

Politics / Fri 15th Mar 2024 at 11:17am

Brian Thomas Photography

By Alice Read

LAST month, Harlow Council’s cabinet approved over 16 “dramatic” changes to Harlow Council’s Housing Allocations Policy which determines who is eligible for council housing in Harlow.

The changes are focussed on ensuring the highest priority is given to those most in housing need who were born and bred in the town and have lived in Harlow for seven years or more.

YH sat down with council leader, Dan Swords to understand a bit more about the changes.

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21 Comments for Harlow Council leader gives more details on new housing allocation policy:

2024-03-15 11:56:53

Too little too late. Families already split up, as planned.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-03-15 11:58:20

More smoke and mirrors. Despite the information I gave in these pages recently, Cllr Swords repeats what he said when the decision to remove band 4 was taken, that is, very few if any such banded applicants had been housed in recent years. The facts are that in 2021/22, 21 applicants were housed and in 2022/23, 33. He also fails to say that if someone remains in a temporary home having come from say Hackney, after 7 years they would be eligible to go on Harlow's list and bearing in mind how small these office conversions are, they would have very high priority. It is clear that he has no concept of housing need.

Dan Swords
2024-03-15 12:13:57

Nich, you are entirely wrong. Someone in temporary accommodation from another borough is not eligible for council housing in Harlow. To be absolutely clear, anyone placed in Harlow by another council in temporary accommodation is not eligible for council housing and indeed, no local connection time can be built up whilst they're in temporary accommodation by another council whether it be 5 years, 7 years or anything in between. So in the scenario you give, the individual would not be eligible for council housing in Harlow. You profess to be the housing oracle, but mislead on a most basic fact. I really am surprised that you don't know that whilst suggesting I don't.

Kim Oconnor
2024-03-15 12:21:15

Dan swords, the damage has been done.

Dan Swords
2024-03-15 12:31:12

Kim, you are quite right! The council has let the town down for decades on this, which is why when I became Leader, I changed it with the most radical overhaul of housing allocations ever to ensure local homes are for local people and it is those in need who can access it.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-03-15 14:09:09

Readers will note in his response to my post that Cllr Swords has ignored the first point in my post on this article, that he has as Leader of the Council has again misled the public about Band 4 applicants. In respect of my second point, I am happy to clarify the point I made. As we all know councils from other parts of the country can place people in temporary accommodation in the first instance but can then discharge their duty to re- house the family if they then secure some form of permanent accommodation in Harlow. I don't know what sort of tenancies are being given by the many landlords of office conversions around the town, they may be legally permanent tenancies even though the tenant feels they are only living in accommodation which they feel is temporary. I would not be surprised if such landlords quickly found that having permanent, good tenants was much easier to manage than dealing with those who were coming and going. In any event such people are not being called Harlow Born and bred, even though they could have got a job here, had children born here and the children are going to a local school.

Dan Swords
2024-03-15 14:44:05

Nich, with regard to both comments I draw your attention to the cabinet report on Allocations on 15th Feb. It answers both of your points.

Peter Henegan
2024-03-15 15:15:58

Do we have a conservative council trying to put right the problems caused by the conservative govt? Whilst not being directly affected by the issues here, it does seem to me that Dan Swords and co are attempting to improve a situation.

Bruce Downey
2024-03-15 15:35:22

Nich, He’s Misstra Know- It-All

Kim Oconnor
2024-03-15 16:06:19

This mess has happened under your watch, and Labour s. We only have your words on this at the moment. I asked a question on here yesterday, about you buying back the flats at burnt mill, if they were cash bought or a loan, to be told its corporate confidential. May I ask you Dan, will this information be available this side of election or after.? What happened to freedom of information.?

2024-03-15 16:49:41

I cannot stand the lies from Dan Swords.Shocking.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-03-15 17:09:31

Dan, which "both comments" are you referring to? My first comment was about Band 4 applicants, I have looked at the report, which on page 141, point 7 states that no-one has been housed from band 4 for 5 years and yet the fact is 54 applicants from band 4 have been housed in the last 2 years. Bruce, the facts are facts, found in the Council's own publications.

Kim Oconnor
2024-03-15 18:34:34

It seems they only want to tell you ,what they think you want to hear.

Victoria Collinson
2024-03-15 20:17:12

So someone that has worked in harlow for years are no longer eligible to list on the housing list even though their family live elsewhere & rejected their local authority housing which in effect made them homeless.... They cannot be accept with Harlow Also the new builds are for Harlow People only

Victoria Collinson
2024-03-15 20:27:19

Sorry ... So all the new builds in Harlow are going to be for our local community that actually live in Harlow not people that have unfortunately cannot be rehoused in their community

Victoria Collinson
2024-03-15 20:54:39

I really feel for the people that have been relocated to Harlow from a London Borough & been told that is going to be temporary & it's not!!! Many have kept at their London gp & their children school because they have believed they would be relocated back ..but this is not the case

2024-03-15 20:58:27

It is my understanding anyone placed in temporary housing by another council becomes eligible for social housing within that area. The claim is they will have developed community links etc in the area. I believe the period of time is 3 years. I would be very interested in a definitive response that disproves this, with evidence of the local policy which will prevent this happening. People in temporary accommodation are classed as homeless and thereby take priority in housing. unless this is prevented from happening long term harlow residents will again be passed over by others deemed to be in greater. How will the local authority prevent other councils etc using housing laws to override local policies

2024-03-16 07:17:00

I really hate this subject. I was born and raised in Harlow , had my first job, bought and sold my first property but I'm stuck in a rut .

2024-03-16 14:04:37

The reality is the people in temporary houseing will end up on social housing even if Harlow council opeses it at least we are going in the right direction now and the purchase off burnt Mill by Harlow council is a good thing if you want to go backwards vote Labour in council elections and that is what will happen as l said l intend to get out off Harlow one day. But have siblings here which need the council to get it right

Burnout Millennial
2024-03-16 21:54:55

Cllr DS - stop lying. While other fluff pieces pull the wool over others eyes, the reality is this council does not care. This is all I have heard from GPs, mental health nurses, solicitors & constituents. HDC does not care and I know this from firsthand experience. Born in Harlow, lived & worked for 7 years, severe MH illness, homeless and now unemployed. I fought with your council for two months before I was given TA. The level of failures are enough to build mountains. Within the sect.7 housing review, an external assessor concluded I was not more vulnerable than the ordinary person. I am in a better position than most because I am employed and have a car, which I can use for shelter and drive away if needs be. I disclosed everything to HDC on the emotional and mental decline and newly updated information never passed on. As someone who has been battling SI & SH for over a decade, it is disheartening to be on the receiving end of these invalidating and harmful conclusions. I reached out about this previously, with supporting evidence, Interesting to not have anything back but not surprising considering the recent churning of pro-HDC half truths.

2024-03-17 10:11:22

Both of my children were born and raised in Harlow, and are extremely hard working. Due to the cost of rental property in Harlow they have had to move out of the area to be able to afford to live. Even if they moved back to Harlow and lost bed with us for a while ( making it cramped and awkward) they would not be eligible to go on the housing list :(

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