Housing Specification Blog

Harlow ex-criminals banned from social housing register

February 14, 2013 Alexandra Blakeman Housing Issues

Harlow council will stop ex-criminals applying for social housing from September.

The authority will exclude people with certain convictions, including those with injunctions, ASBOs, or histories of domestic violence, from joining the over-subscribed waiting list.

Ex-offenders with children or elderly dependents will not be given special consideration under the new policy.

The council believe this radical move is vital if the limited housing available in the area is to be allocated to genuine cases.

Critics are saying that social housing should be made available to all, irrespective of their history or criminal past.

Do you think this policy is fair?

Is it likely to be implemented nation-wide?

Surely the new policy will lead to a rise in homelessness and exacerbate criminal activity throughout Harlow and the surrounding community.

Rod Truan, Harlow council’s portfolio holder for housing said: “Each case will be treated on its merits, although generally speaking those with outstanding ASBOs or injunctions, or those with recent convictions for domestic abuse, hate crime or other housing-related offences will be excluded.”

The rehabilitation of offenders  into the Harlow community might be greatly affected if suitable, secure housing is taken off the agenda.

We live in an age when housing stock is limited, but by excluding a section of the community from applying for social housing, we’re effectively negating the point of council housing as an option for all.

Perhaps social housing should be treated as a conditional benefit, dependent on social behaviour. Tell us what you think.

Leave your comments below or on Twitter. Housing Spec wants to hear from you.

15/2/13 – Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have now announced that they might also ban ex-offenders from their social housing register.

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