Thousands of people could be denied council housing under new proposals for Redbridge
Nearly 8,000 applicants hoping for social housing in Redbridge could be wiped from the waiting list under council plans to change how properties are allocated.
Applicants would only be eligible to be on the housing register if the council judges them to be in need and have lived in Redbridge for at least two years.
Previously, people could apply for housing while living outside the borough if they had a “local connection”.
There were 12,562 households on the list in October – making it one of the longest in London.
A report outlining the proposed changes says it would “focus on households who are clearly in housing need and with a clear connection to Redbridge” and make the list “easier to administer”.
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It estimated that 7,729 applicants on the October list would lose their right to social housing.
Proposals include excluding people who have lived in the borough for less than two years, who “have little or no need”, and prioritising people living in overcrowded homes, members of the armed forces and those who have made a “community contribution” – such as adopting.
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Only people in need of sheltered housing, the statutory homeless and members of the armed forces would be exempt from the two-year rule.
Anti-knife crime campaigner Danny O’Brien said he has been on the housing waiting list for three years. He added: “If you are a single bloke you’ve got no chance. My children can’t stay with me because there’s not enough space.
“There are a lot of guys who have gone through break-ups and it can stop you seeing your kids.”
Mr O’Brien, 47, of Seven Kings, said although something must be done to reduce the waiting list, cutting eligibility may not be the solution.
He added: “If you cut them off the list, where are you going to put them?”
A council spokesman said the policy aimed to be “realistic and manage expectations better”.
A consultation is open until January 7 on www.redbridge.gov.uk and the changes will be finalised later that month.