31 July 2023
More Islanders will be eligible to access social rented homes, following changes to the Affordable Housing Gateway criteria, announced today by the Minister for Housing and Communities, Deputy David Warr.
The Minister has published his "Roadmap for improving access to social housing in Jersey", which outlines a detailed series of steps to widen access, and to improve the way it is managed and promoted.
The changes, which include reducing the minimum age of eligibility in a phased way over the next 15 months, reflect a long-standing commitment to continually widen access to social housing as the supply of social rented homes increases.
The eligibility updates mapped out today include:
- Reducing the age of eligibility for people without children gradually, from 40 down to 25. From September 2023, Islanders aged over 35 will be eligible to apply for social housing. This will be widened to age 30 in March 2024 and age 25 in October 2024. Eligibility to access social housing begins at age 18 for households with children, but for households with no children, the age of eligibility has traditionally been much higher.
- Further increasing income thresholds. The maximum income thresholds for social housing will be gradually increased to better reflect the needs of Islanders who may need help with their housing costs. These changes will be implemented in stages, with those who qualify for two-, three- and four-bedroom homes eligible from September 2023. The new limits will range from £61,956 per year (single applicant and one child) up to £92,079 per year (joint applicant and three children or more).
- From September 2023, in the case of separated families, the second household will become eligible to apply for a home with one additional bedroom, to accommodate child stays. At present, only the first household is eligible to access additional bedrooms for children.
- From September 2023, grandparents who provide care for their grandchild(ren) with additional needs will be eligible to request a transfer to a two-bedroom home. This will enable family support networks to provide care and respite.
The Minister for Housing and Communities, Deputy David Warr, said: "I'm pleased to be making these changes, which mean more Islanders will be able to access affordable, good-standard and secure homes. This reflects my commitment of supporting Islanders who continue to experience housing and cost of living pressures, as well as thinking towards the long-term and achieving a housing market that meets the needs of everyone in our community.
"Our ability to make these changes is in no small part thanks to our housing provider, Andium Homes, which, over the past decade, has transformed the standard of social housing in Jersey and is well on course to deliver its ambitious programme to deliver 3,000 new homes by 2030. We can therefore take these steps to widen access to social housing, in a phased well thought through manner, with real confidence that demand is going to be met."
The Minister, through today's publication, has also outlined actions to better manage and promote access to social housing. This will include:
- Reviewing long-standing applications to ensure the Affordable Housing Gateway better reflects Jersey's current housing needs.
- Improving communication with Islanders who would benefit from access to social housing, or who may need additional support to access housing that better meets their needs.
- Reviewing the social rents policy in 2024 as part of a long-term housing strategy to ensure that access to a social housing rental subsidy remains targeted and effective for those in greatest housing need.
The "Roadmap for improving access to social housing in Jersey" can be read on www.gov.je/reports