Lewisham Council & RSS

Lewisham Council have their first RSS feed letting you get their press releases to your reader.

This is definitely a welcome first step; and it can only be a matter of time before I’ll be able to give up doing the Mayor & Cabinet papers myself and instead be able to rely on the council to make that information more accessible.

I think it’s only polite for me to say “thanks for listening” to the Helen over at the council.

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About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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8 Responses to Lewisham Council & RSS

  1. Kate says:

    Thanks for that i have now added it to my feeds.

  2. Thanks, I’ve added it!

  3. Lone Ranger says:

    Hope you don’t mind this…..

    There’s a report going before the Mayor on April 9 entitled “Changes to Lewisham’s Housing Allocations Scheme” which may be of interest to some of your readers.

    I can’t work out if it’s to meet the needs of people or just an exercise in number crunching to meet Government targets.

    Changes are to be made to address overcrowding and reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation by 50% before 2010.

    According to the report the scheme “Lewisham Homesearch” introduced choice by allowing persons eligible for social housing to bid for properties they would like to occupy rather than under the former scheme which would just allocate them a property.

    It also states there is a generous interpretation of overcrowding and the number of bedrooms a household is entitled to bid for.

    That one of the key drivers for change is the Government target announced in 2005, requiring local authorities to halve the number of homeless households placed in any form of temporary accommodation over the next five years. With
    continuing to increase of households approaching the Council for assistance and no prospect of change in the legislation, the temporary accommodation target is an extremely challenging one.

    On average there are only 25-30 properties advertised through Homesearch each week and historically only 30% of these lettings have gone to accepted homeless households.

    Currently the banding system reflects the severity of overcrowding by placing
    overcrowding:
    by one bedroom in Band C;
    by two bedrooms in Band B; and
    by three bedrooms in Band A.

    That’s the background, now what’s proposed…..

    It is proposed to bring a more realistic balance to what is recorded as overcrowding while improving the prospects for rehousing of those most overcrowded. These changes will also bring our policies more into line with other authorities.

    To address overcrowding the proposed changes are:

    a) To allow a bedroom for any child from birth and to amend the bedsize need
    appropriately as necessary (instead of as from now, from birth of the first
    child)

    b) To allow a separate bedroom for a subsequent child of opposite sex from the
    age of 10 (instead of as now, from birth of the subsequent child)

    c) Continuing to allow a separate bedroom for a child of the same sex from the
    age of 18, as now.

    d) To implement the resulting changes to the current Council’s policy for all on
    the housing list.

    e) To combine the priority for overcrowding by two and by three bedrooms in
    Band A.

    f) Leaving the priority for overcrowding by one bedroom in B and C.

    The suggested changes will reduce the number of cases accepted as
    overcrowded by:
    One bedroom by 670 from 2,320 to 1650;
    Two bedrooms by 151 from 504 to 353; and
    Three bedrooms by 16 from 45 to 29.

    Another change is the offers to Homeless households. Counsel has advised that the Council is entitled to have a “One offer policy” whereby one offer of suitable accommodation (with regard to a clients bedsize need) can be made at any time from the date the applicant is accepted as homeless. This offer may not be in their preferred area of choice.

    ——–

    Would I be wrong to think the council are proposing to reduce overcrowding by merely telling people they are not living in overcrowded accommodation?

    If you someone is in overcrowded acommodation with children younger than 10 how do the changes improve matters?

    If the council wishes to bring itself inline with other boroughs why doesn’t reduce the age brothers or sisters have to share a room from 18 to 16 like the vast majority of other boroughs?

    The report says the changes have broadly been welcomed. Maybe I’ve got the wrong end of the stick but how will things be better for the 837 people registered as being overcrowded being told next week they no longer count as being overcrowded?

  4. Lone Ranger says:

    I was going to suggest on the council website the calender under council meetings could be be filled in withh meetings, rather than wait till the documents are ready?

    Also, having to click about 18 times to get back to October 2006 meetings iis a bit a bind.

  5. Kate says:

    Omg…Can i post that comment? im going to look into that.

  6. Lone Ranger says:

    Kate feel free, but be warned I may have misunderstood the report.

    I did try to clarify certain situations. For example if a 6 year old is in a property registered as overcrowded could they find from next week the council considers they no longer exist for at least another 4 years.

    I think I now understand why some people in temporary accomodation do not search for a home. If they apply for a property on Homesearch but turn it down then the council can withdraw the temporary housing.

    Maybe I’m wrong but the “one offer policy” worries me and wonder if it might become an “one offer and you’re out policy”.

    According to the report choice was introduced to produce substainable communities, now that choice may be taken away.

  7. Andrew Brown says:

    I’d suggest reading the whole paper not because I think Lone Ranger has necessarily made a mistake in his interpretation of it – I’ve not read the paper myself – but just because the you’ll be able to make your own assessment.

  8. Kate says:

    I will read the whole thing. I do think the one choice system could benefit more people . As much as i dont want to get dumped somewhere i hate it would stop people that are supose to be in desperate need of rehousing being fussy and turning down properties when people like me have never been made a single offer.

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