I am pleased to report that my council, Hammersmith and Fulham, plans to be the first in the country to put members of the Territorial Army as well as members of the regular armed forces, at the front of the
We were the first in the country to start prioritising working households in 2007 and our reviewing how it allocates its social housing and Home Buy products to give a greater priority to those who also undertake voluntary service or have served in the armed forces. The Government ensure preference is given to former armed services personnel and their families who have a strong local connection.
We also plan to give Special Constables priority for social housing.
My colleague Cllr Andrew Johnson, our Cabinet Member for Housing, says:
“We are eternally grateful for the courage and bravery of our armed forces serving in dangerous places across the world. However, all too often, when they return home from duty they struggle to find appropriate housing. We do not believe that years of loyal service to this country should become an obstacle to finding a home. There can be no people more deserving of a council house or access to home ownership that those who give voluntary service in the name of Queen and Country.”
Our new Tenants Charter will also prioritise allocating council housing on the condition that people find work or enrol on a training course or undertake voluntary service whilst in part-time work. New tenants who are able to work but refuse to do so may forfeit their right to a council property within Hammersmith and Fulham.
Cllr Johnson adds:
“If we want to build strong, mixed and sustainable communities we need to prioritise hard working local people when considering applications for council housing. We want to give people a hand up and not a hand out and the best way to do that is to prioritise people who are making an effort and penalise those who simply cannot be bothered. Council housing can be a great safety net to help get people back on their feet, but that is all that it should be. Council housing is a springboard – not a destination.”
Since April 1, 2011, we have helped 58 working families into social housing. Between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011, that figure was 134. Between August 2009 and March 2010, 114 working families were helped into housing.