A pilot scheme in which young people who are in need of housing and actively seeking full-time work are given the keys to their own council home is being opened up to support more people.
Wandsworth Council’s Housing into Work pilot is the first instance of a council making it conditional that a resident in line for help with their housing is seeking or securing work.
Initially, the pilot was designed to prioritise local residents aged between 18 and 24, registered unemployed, and who are registered and accepted as a priority applicant for social housing in the borough.
However, the council has decided to move Housing into Work on by broadening the eligibility criteria. Going forward, the pilot’s age range will increase to include 18 to 30-year-olds and there will be greater scope to enable people who have part-time employment to apply to take part.
Wandsworth’s housing spokesman, Councillor Paul Ellis, said that a wider section of the community will now have the opportunity to benefit from the pilot, which has identified 20 council homes for use in the scheme along with several properties owned by registered social landlords.
As part of their tenancy agreement, those residents taking part in the pilot will move into a studio or one bedroom council home on the condition they are or have taken steps that make them work ready, find work or increase their hours. Those failing to stick to their side of the bargain will face the prospect of losing their home at the end of their two year fixed term tenancy.
Over the course of the programme, residents will attend meetings with a council liaison officer, engage in training/voluntary work/placements and interviews and generally become ‘work prepared’ and gain employment.