The Housing and Communities Board has initiated a public consultation aimed at addressing some of the housing challenges facing essential workers on the Isle of Man.
Workers in sectors such as health and care, education and childcare, emergency services, and prison and probation services play a pivotal role in delivering services that all residents depend upon but can face difficulties securing long-term accommodation.
The Isle of Man Population Report 2023 recently noted that around 35% of new residents leave the Island within five years of their arrival.
The consultation is focussed on changes to housing and assistance options, particularly for those who have recently relocated to the Island to work in essential job roles. This includes reviewing Shared Equity Schemes including the ‘First Home Choice Scheme’ and the ‘First Home Fixed Scheme’, administered by the Department of Infrastructure.
The consultation asks whether essential workers should have different eligibility criteria for financial assistance. Existing criteria - including income thresholds, property ownership restrictions, and residency requirements, will be evaluated against proposed changes aimed to facilitate earlier or easier access to loan schemes.
Chair of the Housing and Communities Board, David Ashford MHK, said:
‘Essential workers, such as nurses and teachers, are essential for the continuing function of our Island, and we are committed to proactively addressing the challenges that they face when looking for affordable housing on the Isle of Man. Collaborative schemes across Government departments and external stakeholders can help provide both temporary and permanent housing solutions.
This consultation is a crucial step in shaping policies that directly impact essential workers and aligns with the Island Plan vision of everyone having a suitable and affordable place to call home, as well as the Housing & Communities Board Action Plan to further develop an essential worker housing policy.’
The consultation is available on the consultation hub, and will run until 3 January 2024.
Responses can be submitted online, or paper responses can be sent to Juan Bellando, Third Floor, Government Office, Bucks Road, Douglas, IM1 3PN.