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Agenda item

Aims and Objectives of the Housing Poverty Scrutiny Review

The purpose of this agenda item is to establish the aims and objectives for a Scrutiny Review into Housing Poverty.  At the November meeting of this Committee, Members were presented with a report from the Customer and Corporate Services Scrutiny Management Committee, requesting that they take part in a Corporate Review into Poverty. It was agreed that a review would be undertaken and this report asks the committee to establish its remit, objectives and assign Members to the carry out the review.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received a report asking them to consider and agree their remit for the Housing Poverty Scrutiny Review. The Committee discussed a range of topics including the current housing register and access to affordable rental housing.

 

Officers explained the criteria for each of the bands in the current housing register and explained how the application process for available housing was undertaken. Members enquired about the impact that housing related debt could have on someone successfully receiving a council property. Officers confirmed that housing related debt accrued in both council properties and the private sector would be a barrier against receiving a council property.

 

Members also enquired about the increased number of people on the housing register when comparison local authorities in the report had seen a reduction. Officers stated that they were unsure of how other authorities had compiled their data and agreed to contact the Local Authorities listed, to understand the differences in policy and administration.

 

Members enquired about the impact of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), officers confirmed that the private rental sector in York was impacting affordability in the city. They noted that there were a large number of people receiving LHA that were paying the difference between private rental prices and the allowance from the LHA. Members raised concerns regarding the impact this could be having on the financial stability of those receiving LHA. Officers noted that a national government review could lift the maximum amount that could be received from the LHA from April 2020.   

 

Members discussed the proposed remit for the scrutiny review and noted the need for the Council’s Housing Delivery Programme to aim for higher than 40% affordable homes as passed by Council in September. Members also noted the need to explore the breakdown of affordable homes to identify those being built for sale at 80% market rate and those at social rent. Members also suggested that the remit could consider what individuals are choosing to do when they reach 18 years of age and if they are able to access housing outside of family homes. 

 

 

 

Resolved:

 

The Committee agreed that the remit for the Housing Poverty Scrutiny Review task group would be:

 

                      i.         ‘To better understand the extent to which house prices, rent levels and the costs of running a home contribute to the number of households in York in poverty’.

 

The Committee agreed that the objectives for the Housing Poverty Scrutiny Review would be:

 

                     ii.         To establish the costs of running a home (gas, electricity, service charges etc) and analyse this in addition to the data we have on average earnings, house prices and rent.

                    iii.        To carry out a comparison exercise  with similar local authorities?

                   iv.        To assess the impact and take up of the Local Housing Allowance and other Government-imposed rules that we must adhere to?

                     v.        To establish what levers the Council and other local partners have to reduce the cost of housing and/or the cost of running a home, e.g. shared or novel forms of ownership, council tax support, energy costs?

                   vi.        To identify the factors that impact on the pace and the percentage of delivery of affordable homes (noting the net position with the losses through Right to Buy)?

                  vii.        To engage with:

a.   CYC Business Intelligence Team

b.   Citizen’s Advice York

c.   Credit Union

d.   Housing associations

e.   CYC Housing Management Officers

f.     Estate Agents

g.   Residential Landlords Association

h.   Local Authorities that have had successful affordable house building programmes

i.     Individuals with lived experience

 

The Committee agreed that the Housing Poverty Scrutiny Review task group would include Cllrs Musson, Mason and Baker, however all Members of the Committee should be included in meetings wherever possible.

 

Reason:     So that the Committee can undertake a Housing Poverty Scrutiny Review.

 

 

Supporting documents:

 

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