Saturday, 10 August 2013

3400 people still on East herts housing waiting list still more homes needed

About 3,400 people are currently on East Herts Council’s housing register and a points system aims to prioritise those cases most in need. Changes to the system to make it fairer for all were proposed in March and introduced in May. They included new registration criteria, a maximum household income cap and more preference for those already living within the district. Since the changes, the waiting list has dropped from 3,600. I myself am on the waiting list for a council flat in the Hertford or Ware area and I’ve been bidding for properties for a good few years now. Quite clearly even in East Hertfordshire which isn’t a big area there is still huge demand for homes and affordable ones at that. With the possible development of Harlow North still undecided it is key housing is part of a development of the region. In ware and surrounding areas there is a lot of private renting going on and very little in the way of council properties. The council are claiming a drop in 200 off the waiting list in the last year which could have come about due to these so called changes to the points system brought in and also those who like me who have to renew their interest every so often may have missed out perhaps due to not remembering to renew. It is clear that there is a need for new council homes which young people in the area could benefit from who have to live at home with their parents due to the inability to move out to a place of their own. I will be told people can still rent in a private property but this is all very ell but we do live in an expensive area for renting. We live on the commuter belt to London and as a result rental prices are very expensive around the 500 pound mark and more. SO what we do need is more council homes being built. Affordable housing is a confusing concept officially it can mean 80% of market value which around here is still very unaffordable to many. So I’d suggest we need a rent control system with a cap on rents that landlords can charge as a first step. With this as a start and a development of new council homes a cap on rents not benefits could really start to help ease the situation. Of course this would have to be planned democratically and used sensibly with the input of local people and those on the waiting lists. We have a housing crisis in East Herts too aswell as elsewhere in the country this is an urgent problem that needs to be tackled. I don’t think there can be a solution or at least a long term one under capitalism. We do need a democratic socialist plan for housing to meet the needs of the people.

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