We are making changes to the way we allocates our properties in a bid to help those most in need on its waiting list. We will do so by freezing the applications of existing tenants without a priority need.
There are currently around 20,000 people registered on our allocations system HomeHunt who are seeking a new home in Sunderland. With a clear shortage of housing in the city, it is important that we help those most in need when allocating homes. A third of the current waiting list are existing Gentoo tenants many of whom are adequately housed, therefore causing a blockage for 13,000 people who are waiting for a home.
Last week, the National Housing Federation released analysis that showed there is more than 1.6 million households currently in need of social housing and sitting on waiting lists across the UK.
In order to reduce waiting times and ensure fair access to rented homes in Sunderland, we have taken the decision to temporarily freeze the HomeHunt accounts for existing Gentoo tenants who are not currently registered with a priority housing need for the next six-months.
As part of the move, we will work closely with Sunderland City Council to allocate homes to local people, who have been nominated by the Council, with a priority housing need.
The move means that existing Gentoo tenants who are registered for housing in band three with ‘general housing needs’ will not be able to apply to move to another Gentoo property for a six-month period from Wednesday 30 September 2020.
Our housing allocations will remain open for tenants registered in bands one and two and for anyone looking to start a tenancy with us.
Speaking of the changes, Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Gentoo Group, said:
“We believe everybody deserves a safe and secure home they can afford and this temporary change to our housing allocations will allow fair access to a rented home in the city for those most in need of a home.
“While we have plans to tackle the housing shortage in the city, this short-term change will prioritise our housing supply for our existing tenants with a priority housing need and those looking to start a new tenancy with us. This will help to ensure vulnerable local people have a safe place to call home.”
While transferring from one Gentoo property to another is suspended, existing tenants can still take advantage of our mutual exchange scheme.
The decision was taken following consultation with existing tenants as part of the associations Community Engagement Forums. The forums agreed with our decision to allow the us to prioritise its housing for local people most in need of a home.
Once the six-month freeze is complete, existing Gentoo tenants will be reinstated to the HomeHunt system and their original date of registration will be unaffected.
During this time, we will review its existing Allocations Policy, which we intends to complete by 31 March 2021.
We reserves the right to resume internal transfers or extend the current freeze at any time.
Full details are available here.