12th January 2011

Question from Forum Member to Cllr Charon re: Housing List

On 20 November 2010 a forum Member asked:-

"I attended the Forum meeting on 28 October at Bournemouth School for Girls, where the Leader of the Council stated that Bournemouth has a housing waiting list of 10,000 people. This seems a very large number and would like to know some further information:-

Question 1:

How is this number arrived at? How often is it re-evaluated?

Cllr Peter Charon:

The number is constantly evaluated. Right now there are just under 8000 “households” on the list – the majority will be single people but of course there are families as well.

Question 2:

Where are these people at this time? Are they all Bournemouth Residents?

Cllr Peter Charon:

The majority will be living in Bournemouth now – the majority in the private sector - some already in Council housing but looking to change. No they will not all be Bournemouth residents and unless they can demonstrate a connection whilst we cannot legally refuse to add their names to the list the chances of obtaining a Council property are virtually nil.

Question 3:

How many needy people cannot be catered for in existing housing stocks?

Cllr Peter Charon:

Good question we "band" people according to housing need - from non-urgent to at immediate risk of becoming homeless. Just about everyone can be “catered for” hence we have next to no-one actually homeless but being “catered for” does not mean that they are in housing that is appropriate for their needs - especially where children are involved. In terms of immediate need there are several hundred.

Question 4:

How many are in private rented accommodation and if Bournemouth accommodated them all in Council housing, what would happen to the private rented industry?

Cllr Peter Charon:

The private rental sector is about 22% of housing stock whereas Council housing is about 15%. Bournemouth is unusual in that regard. Bournemouth cannot begin to house everyone in Council housing, there is simply nowhere near enough supply to meet the demand. Hence the thriving private sector.

Question 5:

If private rental properties become empty, would it cause an influx of people from out of area and where would these people find jobs?

Cllr Peter Charon:

Mute question - private rental sector demand is extremely buoyant and will never become empty as a result of vast increase in Council housing - see above!

Question 6:

How many are already in adequate accommodation, but have asked to go on the list to see what other options may be offered?"

Cllr Peter Charon:

Depending on definition of "adequate" but thrust of question understood and hence prioritisation. Far more who are not in need / not threatened with imminent homelessness than who are and this is well understood. Which is why there are not scores of families in bed and breakfast (but there used to be about 10 years ago) - Bournemouth is recognised as one of the best Councils in preventing homelessness and get additional “reward” grant from the Government - but still there is an acute shortage of housing that is affordable - not just Council (social) housing but the average rent for a 1 bed flat in the town centre is well above £500 a month in the private sector.

Cllr Peter Charon

Leader, Bournemouth Borough Council