As we are a relatively small borough it is difficult to increase our stock of social housing. This creates a challenge for families to get the homes they need. One way of easing this problem is to make better use of the housing stock that we have.

As there are a fair amount of tenants who are in housing that may be bigger than their needs, we have a downsizing scheme in place to help those tenants move to smaller accommodation.

What is the scheme?

Our downsizing scheme is called Holding Hands, and is:

  • Completely voluntary: We cannot and would not wish to force tenants who are under occupying their homes to move against their will
  • Clear and understandable: Information on housing options will be provided to tenants who are under-occupying their current homes once they have expressed their interest to us
  • Discussed on a One to One basis: If a tenant confirms their interest in downsizing, we will speak with them on a one to one basis to discuss their requirements in detail, explaining how the system works and what we can do to help them through the process
  • in the allocations process: Under occupying tenants engaging with the Holding Hands scheme will be offered priority for re-housing to a home that better meets their needs in an area of their choice
  • Conscious of individual financial circumstances: Where a downsizing tenant has debts with us we will use the cash incentive from the scheme to reduce the debts, whether they are from rent, council tax or other sundry debts

There are financial options available for the amount of rooms given up, which can be tailored to suit your needs. For example, the incentive may be made by way of a mixture of payment of debts, payment for decorating, flooring, curtains/tracks and the re-connection of white goods and telephone lines or just as a payment in cash.

Depending upon the property being moved to, some of these options may not be possible, but this will be part of the ongoing discussions that facilitate the move.

How do I participate?

Contact your Housing Officer to register your interest.

Further help and advice

Our officers can offer personal assistance and help with the following:

  • bidding for properties
  • viewing properties
  • sorting of possessions and advice on disposal of unwanted items
  • advice in closing down existing and commencing new utility accounts
  • changing addresses
  • help and advice following the move