Social housing (FOI)
Social housing (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 15 June 2016.
Please can you provide me with copies of the internal policies, procedures and Determining Officer Guidelines that the Housing team in the Social Security Department use in order to make their decisions around who qualifies for what properties etc.
Please also provide me with details of how many customers or individuals have been housed in homes outside of the usual guidelines every year for the past five years, for example, people with three children who should have a three bedroom house but were given a four bedroom house. This must include how many individuals with two children of the same sex who have been given a three bedroom house.
I also would like this to include individuals, who are allowed any properties bigger than one would expect them to be housed in, and the reasons why.
The guidelines by which the Social Security Department work are detailed below but also available online here:
There is no further internal guidance within the Social Security Department.
The Affordable Housing Gateway
The Affordable Housing Gateway team assesses all applicants on the social housing waiting list in Jersey and determines their needs.
The Affordable Housing Gateway provides a single waiting list that is accessed by all social housing providers. Each provider will then allocate their empty homes according to the greatest need and waiting time. It is the function of the various social housing providers on the Island to offer homes to the most suitable applicants as properties become available.
Making an application
All applicants must complete this form:
Download Affordable Housing Gateway Application (size 204KB)
Gateway assessment officers will then assess all applications. They will ask for supporting documents which are found in the application form (as mentioned above). In most cases they will either meet applicants in the office or arrange a visit to their home.
Assessing an application
Applicants are assessed against a set of criteria to place applications in the appropriate priority band from one through to six.
Band 1 (highest priority)
You will fit into this band if you are:
- under eviction notice (with a court order in place)
- unable to occupy or return to your present home because of an urgent medical issue
- staying with friends or family and have no rights to stay in your current accommodation
- forced to live apart from family because present accommodation is not suitable
- staying in a hostel or shelter type accommodation
- an existing tenant needing a transfer, eg you may be under-occupying a property
You will fit into this band if you:
- have overcrowding problems, eg opposite gender children sharing a room or more than two children in one room
- are in poor housing standards
- have moderate medical cases (by Medical Officer of Health determination)
You will fit into this band if you pay rent on your property but cannot afford it, with or without financial assistance.
You will fit into this band if you are adequately housed, but want to move to better accommodation. You can re-house yourself in the private sector without financial assistance.
You will fit into this band if you want to purchase a property, but require some financial assistance to do so.
You will fit into this band if you require ongoing landlord support to live independently and are only likely to be housed by certain landlords who can offer extra care.
If an application is refused, you have the right to appeal. This is done by writing to the Strategic Housing Unit explaining the reasons for appeal. They will review the application, taking into account any extra information provided, and advise whether or not the appeal has been successful.
If an applicant is unhappy with the Strategic Housing Unit’s decision, you can respond in writing asking that your case be passed to the Housing Minister for formal appeal.
The Housing Minister will meet with you to discuss your application and make a final decision as to whether or not you can be accepted onto our waiting list. This does not affect your right to seek an independent review of any decision.
The Affordable Housing Gateway does not have control over, or hold information on, the size and type of property in which applicants for social housing are subsequently housed. For that reason we are unable to provide you with the information you have requested.
Families will be offered a family home which best meets their needs. However, it is not generally possible to allow a bedroom for each child and an appropriate level of sharing is expected.
No more than two children would be expected to share one bedroom, regardless of age or gender.
However, two children of the same gender, with no more than a five-year age gap, would be expected to share a bedroom. Children of different gender, where the elder child has reached five years of age, qualify for a bedroom each.
Exceptions to the policy
All applications are assessed in line with current policy. However, where there is an exceptional medical need, verified by a medical specialist, a household may be deemed eligible and recommended to be housed in a larger property.
There have been 13 such cases over the past five years. Due to the small numbers this figure has been aggregated to ensure the individuals cannot be identified (Article 25). We cannot state, however, whether or not applicants were subsequently housed in the size of property that had been recommended by the Affordable Housing Gateway.
FOI exemption(s) applied:
Article 25 Personal Information
(2) Information is absolutely exempt information if –
(a) it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is not the data subject as defined in the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005; and
(b) its supply to a member of the public would contravene any of the data protection principles, as defined in that Law.