2. Help with housing
We transferred all our housing stock to two council sponsored Housing Associations in May 1995. We have maintained nomination rights to a large percentage of these properties and work with a variety of registered providers in the borough to allocate social housing.
We provide a wider housing options approach, with bespoke housing advice to provide alternatives to social housing such as lower cost home ownership and private sector housing. The housing options service is committed to preventing homelessness. This approach complements the council’s Homelessness Strategy, which works to prevent and reduce homelessness.
Housing options services are delivered seven days a week through the library and resident service hubs. Each resident approaching housing services is given a personal housing plan which sets out needs, next steps for the resident, the council and other partners, with a record of advice and guidance provided. We are currently adapting and widening the offer available to residents in line with the Homelessness Reduction Act. You can find out more about contacting our housing options service.
The service supports residents in many ways, including:
- Officers attend court with tenants who are being evicted to assist with any possession order.
- Providing advice to those who are struggling with their mortgage.
- Mediating between parents who can no longer accommodate their grown up children.
- Weekly information surgeries at Windsor Homeless Project and the Brett Foundation.
- The housing options service also offers an Interest Free Loan to its residents. This allows the resident to focus on securing accommodation in the private sector that is affordable to them and in a location that is desirable.
In addition, we commission specialist organisations to provide support services to residents who are homeless, for instance:
- Resilience was commissioned in April 2017 to provide advice, support, treatment and recovery for anyone experiencing alcohol and drug problems in the borough;
- Citizens Advice Bureau is funded to provide advice on a range of matters including housing, debt, financial and employment advice - at their offices at Marlow Road, Maidenhead, at Windsor Library and the Bridge Café, Datchet.
We also commission temporary accommodation which is as follows:
- 17 self contained flats in Windsor provided by Look Ahead Housing and Care, these self contained flats are available to homeless people in priority need and mainly used for families who have become homeless. There are a range of support services, including a playgroup and health visitor surgery. All residents are allocated a key worker to assist them during their stay.
- 25 self contained flats in Maidenhead to accommodate young people aged 16-24 who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. This service is managed by Look Ahead Housing and Care and supports residents to learn lifestyle skills such as cooking and budgeting, to secure or maintain education or employment. This also allows the housing options service to assist with its corporate parenting responsibilities.
We are also able to help people at risk of homelessness to secure suitable accommodation in the private rented sector.
We work in partnership with housing associations to provide a shared ownership scheme, which is a means:
- of providing homes for people who are unable to afford the cost of buying a property outright.
- the buyer can purchase a share in a property of between 25 and 75 percent of the value and pay an affordable rent on the part not owned.
To qualify for the scheme, applicants need:
- to have been living or permanently employed in a full time position in the borough for the last six months.
- you will need to have sufficient funds for a deposit and legal costs when purchasing a home.
For more information, or to apply for a shared ownership home go to the Help to Buy South website.
Rent to buy
Rent to Buy is designed to ease the transition from renting to buying a home by providing subsidised rent:
- you rent a newly built home at approximately 20% below the market rate for up to five years.
- during that time you have the option to buy the property, or part of the property under a shared ownership scheme
Help to Buy South are the agent for Windsor and Maidenhead, and can provide advice about the different options available to help you purchase or rent a home that is affordable for you. For more information, go to the Help to Buy South website or phone 0800 456 11 88.