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Action for Housing says allocation system ‘is failing’ many long-term applicants

Action for Housing said that the housing allocation system “is failing” a number of applicants who are high on the waiting list but have yet to be assigned properties and, in some cases, have been bypassed despite their circumstances.

The group highlighted the issue during a meeting with Housing Minister Steven Linares after he stated that the Housing Department had allocated 135 government properties in recent months.

When the group checked its records, it realised that many cases it is involved with involving applicants who had been high up on the lists for a long time - in some cases years – had yet to be allocated properties.

The group cited numerous examples to illustrate what it believes to be a wider problem.

They included:

-A married couple with young child whose case was first raised in December 2015 and again in March 2016, when they were number 13 on the 3RKB list. They are second on the list and second on the Medical B list. “They were high enough on the list to have been offered an accommodation, but this has not happened,” the group said.

-A married couple who were seventh on the 2RKB list in March 2016. Now in October 2020, they are 10th on the list, “so in 56 months not only they have not progressed on the list but are three positions down to what they were in March 2016.”

-A medical Case who, according to Action for Housing’s records, was placed on the Medical A+ list in March 2018 and was number 29 on the said list. She is now 16th on the list, meaning it has taken her 31 months to climb 13 positions. “We wonder how many more years she will have to wait before this medical case gets to the top of the list and is given an allocation,” the group said.

-A married couple who were 13th on the 2RKB list in January 2019. In October 2020 they are 12th on the list on the Medical A list. “In 12 months they have gone up one position,” the group said. “We wonder how many more years they will have to wait before they are offered a flat on medical grounds.”

-An applicant who was third on the 2RKB list in November 2018. Now in October 2020 he is fourth on the list. “So in 24 months not only he has not been given an allocation although he has throughout all this time remained high on the list, but is now one position down from the one he was in November 2018,” the group said.

Action for Housing said it met with Mr Linares on December 10 to raise its concerns and ask him why applicants had been bypassed by the allocation process.

“The explanation the minister provided failed to convince us, and we told him that his arguments provided no comfort to the cases we had brought to his attention and to all those others in similar situations,” the group said in a statement.

“These cases, and all those other similar ones show that positions on the lists move up terribly slowly, and even when they reach positions which are within reach of allocations, these do not happen.”

“It is obvious to us that the allocation system is failing a number of applicants, and in many instances the most vulnerable and needy who live in deplorable housing conditions in the private sector, some of whom the Minister has seen for himself when we took him on a short tour earlier in the year.”

“These tenants have been neglected for decades and continue to live in the same very substandard dwellings with very little expectations of being given decent housing any time soon.”