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Council Housing Waiting Lists

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This was a question posed by Sadman in the middle of another thread, but I think it's interesting enough to start a thread.

We often hear about "Council Housing Waiting Lists" being too high, but - like Sadman - I never stopped to think about what this means. I know that in my job as a GP I fairly often get asked to sign a form in support of someone moving to different council accomodation from that which they already live in.

Where are the people on these lists living?

Some options:

On the street?

In hostels?

In b&Bs?

On friends' sofas?

With mum and dad?

In private sector accomodation but hoping to move to council housing?

In council housing already but dissatisfied with it and would like to be in different council housing?

I suspect the list comprises all these groups. And without knowing what the proportions are, it's hard to know what to make of the list size.

If, for instance, in Oldham, there is a list of 10,000 people, that could mean 10,000 people living on the streets need accomodation - clearly something must be done

Or it could mean 10,000 council tenants are dissatisfied with their property - far from clear that something must be done.

Does anyone actually know how these lists are populated?

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quite often waiting lists are people who's families have grown too big to be in the current property but mostly i find its young families starting out having to live with parents or that because they can't get up the list due to "other factors" in that council list, it varies from council to council and depends what council list your on.

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Guest sillybear2
If, for instance, in Oldham, there is a list of 10,000 people, that could mean 10,000 people living on the streets need accomodation - clearly something must be don

It doesn't quite work like that, there is a great deal of over-crowding, kids sleeping in kitchens and hall ways etc. It's the single biggest cause of educational failure, not having a small area of your own to read and study.

Edited by sillybear2

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There's no official breakdown anywhere I don't think - you could rummage round shelter or email them.

Michael meacher has some stats

There were 1.6 million households on Council waiting lists in 2006, and the number is probably nearer 2 million today. In Oldham the number on the Council waiting list is now 12,000;

http://www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/2008...il_housing.html

So 12000 on the list now in Oldham

In addition, across the country there are nearly 100,000 households who are homeless in temporary accommodation, including several hundred in Oldham.

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Where are the people on these lists living?

Anecdotal I know, but here in Edinburgh I was in the Chinese takeaway recently and the guy who was waiting in there started talking at me. He was obviously not exactly local (I live in a posh bit) and I was struggling to understand him. But it turns out he was living with his partner in a B&B up the road as he had been kicked out of his flat (not sure why). He claimed that most of the people in the B&B were also in the same situation, the Council had nowhere to put them so they paid for them to stay in a B&B.

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I was on a list for 12 years 10 years ago - I spoke to them to find out how much longer and they said it'd be about another 20 years before they could get me into a shared house (I am single).

So I never bother going on the lists since.

Many people aren't on any list because they know there's nothing to be had, you'd always be the bottom of the list. Also, being on the list isn't as black/white as it seems for many. e.g. in the area I grew up in they checked yearly that you were still "living or working in the area", but if I had to drive 10-20 miles to work in the other direction at the time then I'd be off the list. So any list isn't good if you just live/work wherever you can in your local area if that means crossing some imaginary border just a few miles up the road.

Most people on lists are those who would stand some ch ance of getting one sometime soonish (up to 5 years) because private rentals cost 2-3x as much as council. I have a friend who rents a 4-bed council house just outside of the M25 for £20 more than I rent my studio in another town - for her to rent that place privately on her estate would cost her 3x as much.

So anybody that isn't single, that's in private rented, is probably on the list.

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This was a question posed by Sadman in the middle of another thread, but I think it's interesting enough to start a thread.

We often hear about "Council Housing Waiting Lists" being too high, but - like Sadman - I never stopped to think about what this means. I know that in my job as a GP I fairly often get asked to sign a form in support of someone moving to different council accomodation from that which they already live in.

Where are the people on these lists living?

Some options:

On the street?

In hostels?

In b&Bs?

On friends' sofas?

With mum and dad?

In private sector accomodation but hoping to move to council housing?

In council housing already but dissatisfied with it and would like to be in different council housing?

I suspect the list comprises all these groups. And without knowing what the proportions are, it's hard to know what to make of the list size.

If, for instance, in Oldham, there is a list of 10,000 people, that could mean 10,000 people living on the streets need accomodation - clearly something must be done

Or it could mean 10,000 council tenants are dissatisfied with their property - far from clear that something must be done.

Does anyone actually know how these lists are populated?

Or people like me, in short hold tenacies having to move the kids around like Romainian gypsies.

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They're elastic.

If by some miracle a big building programme could bring them down to near-zero, everyone now in private-rented would see an opportunity for lower costs, better security and not least better quality (except perhaps at the expense-account top end). I'm sure the current lists include lots of people with no expections of a council house, just making the classic point "I'm paying my taxes for people to enjoy a better standard of living than I can afford for myself".

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Thank you all for the insights.

One thing is clear reading the replies:

It doesn't follow from the statement "Oldham has a council house waiting list of 12,000" that Oldham requires 12,000 extra council houses.

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I used to work for the council and was employed to computerise the council waiting list. As part of the program I beta-tested the questionnaire to would-be tenants. In fairness this was a long time ago but having spoken (in person) with upwards of 100 people actually on a council house waiting list here's my (out of date) view.

About 70 percent of them are adequately housed and want a council house so they can exercise their right to buy and make some money out of the council.

The rest are a mixture of people living in inadequate housing and young people that are looking to set up in their first move towards adulthood.

It was and I think still is, the case that homeless families are top priority and they are housed in B&B and from there into any available council or housing association unit.

Most people view it a bit like yacht moorings - get you name down (in several places) and maybe one day it will come up. If you're names not down you can't "win". I'm still waiting for that 10 meter mooring in St Omer....

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