Proposed amendments to existing access and eligibility criteria for public sector housing will be laid before Tynwald for approval later this month.
This follows a period of public consultation earlier this year when more than 70% of respondents agreed with the proposals.
Access to public sector housing is subject to an all-Island policy which provides a framework for all providers to follow.
The criteria for general needs housing was last assessed in 2002. The new criteria are designed to modernise the rules currently in place and promote greater fairness in accessing and allocating public sector housing.
In line with the Programme for Government’s theme of an ‘Inclusive and Caring Island’, the modernisation of the criteria will enable housing providers to target resources more accurately at applicants with the greatest housing need.
As is currently the case, the criteria are divided into two parts. The first sets out eligibility requirements for those who wish to join a waiting list. The second part determines how applications are prioritised once a person is accepted onto the list – this is achieved through a points system.
While the Island residency qualification remains at 10 years, the requirement to have lived in one housing authority area for at least 5 years in order to apply for housing has been reduced to 3 years. This proposed change reflects the wider regional nature of shared lists which have succeeded in improving access and choice for many applicants.
Financial and other circumstances are still assessed to determine priority for housing but health, welfare and safety needs will have the greatest weighting, if the proposals are approved.
Julie Edge MHK, Member with responsibility for Public Estates and Housing, said:
‘The proposed changes will ensure the criteria correctly reflect today’s society and prioritise the people most in need.
‘The views of the public have been collected and considered during this process, along with the views of the Local Authorities, and I’m confident the proposals will succeed in ensuring greater fairness.’