Islanders have been giving their views on the Housing Minister’s proposals to change the way in which social housing in Jersey is financed and managed. The way social housing is provided needs to be transformed if the sector is to operate on a sustainable basis and be able to deliver new and improved homes.
To achieve the necessary transformation and benefits for tenants, four key changes are proposed:-
1. That a new Strategic Housing Unit is developed to create a long-term, cross-tenure strategy for Housing, to promote the supply of new homes and to address issues of affordability.
2. That a new Affordable Housing Regulator is established to ensure that tenants’ best interests are protected and that Public investment in affordable housing delivers value for money.
3. That a new, wholly States-owned, Housing Association is established to improve the States-owned social housing stock. The new Association will operate as a strategic investment and continue to make a significant financial return to the States each year.
4. That social housing rents are returned to previously intended fair levels to ensure that tenants who can afford to do so pay a fair rent whilst ensuring that tenants who rely on Income Support to pay their rent are fully protected and do not pay more.
370 comments have been received to date, via letter, email and online, all of which are being considered by the Minister as the full business case is developed in readiness for a States debate.
Consultation closes next Thursday 5th July 2012 and Islanders are encouraged to make their views known so that they can equally be taken into account in the final business case.
The Housing Minister, Deputy Andrew Green MBE, says: “I am delighted with the quality of debate that my proposals have encouraged and pleased to have received a generally positive response. The proposals set out in my White Paper will address once and for all the issues affecting the long term sustainability of the Social Housing sector without placing additional financial burden on the taxpayer. From the outset I have given an absolute commitment to ensuring that the changes will be affordable and that social housing tenants who receive Income Support will be fully protected. I am equally determined to see homes across the social sector being brought up to the Decent Homes Standard and, importantly, maintained at that standard into the future. We also need to increase supply and these proposals will provide a financial framework for social housing providers to enable them to deliver the additional homes which our population needs.
I would ask Islanders to make the most of the last week of consultation and let me know their views on the proposals”