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Housing points proposal will affect victims of domestic violence

29 October, 2020

‘Opposing HS2 does not mean opposing domestic violence victims, and yet Camden is doing just that’

• CAMDEN’S decision to move Regent’s Park estate residents to the front of the queue for council housing will have a great impact on people waiting for homes across the borough, (Unprecedented council homes points plan for HS2 tenants, October 22).

In particular it will affect three groups of people currently given priority. This will make matters worse for Regent’s Park residents and, outrageously, remove an escape route for victims of domestic violence.

Camden’s points-based housing system means people are given homes based on how many “points” they get from a range of criteria. This allows Camden to create a hierarchy between people and give homes to those assessed as being most in need.

Camden’s decision is to grant 630 points to people greatly affected by the failure to enforce noise restrictions on HS2.

I’d rather HS2 were halted altogether, as I have pushed for since I lived on Drummond Street myself over a decade ago, but I am pleased that residents will get help getting rehoused.

However 630 is not a round number of points, because it’s a deliberate mechanism to put people ahead of everyone else in the queue.

It was chosen to be greater than the awards for any other groups: and therefore a deliberate demotion of anyone that received the previous maximum 600 points.

There are three categories that receive those 600 points and that are specifically being snubbed.

First, people that have council homes that are too large for them and that want to downsize, for example, from a three-bed to a one-bed.

Giving them priority actually frees up space for another family, so it helps everyone below them. They should therefore always be top, so everyone benefits.

Second, people ordered by Camden to move out because their homes are being replaced or because they’re uninhabitable and need urgent repairs to make them available for letting.

Those two groups getting new council homes actually frees up properties for others. When people downsize or move out to allow repairs it helps others on the waiting list so it’s not actually a trade-off.

It’s win-win, so demoting them hurts everyone, including Regent’s Park residents needing to move.

The third group – and I will quote this directly – are people “fleeing severe harassment or violence and in urgent need of rehousing”.

Yes, Camden’s policy specifically targets people currently suffering domestic violence and for whom a new council home is the only way to flee that violence.

It is unconscionable to send to the back of the queue people begging for an escape from domestic violence.

Opposing HS2 does not mean opposing domestic violence victims, and yet Camden is doing just that. This proposal must be revised urgently.

CLLR OLIVER COOPER
Leader, Camden Conservatives

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