7. Devon Home Choice
The Council works in partnership with the other local authorities in Devon to deliver a choice-based lettings scheme known as Devon Home Choice (DHC). All the registered providers which operate in the districts, and the two unitary authorities, which work across Devon are also involved in the scheme as partners, and representatives from each authority and from each registered provider sit upon the DHC Management Board.
The aims of DHC, as stated in the policy document, are to provide:
- Choice for people seeking housing and the ability to move within Devon
- A common scheme across Devon that is transparent, easy to understand and accessible to all.
DHC provides a common:
- Application form
- Housing register
- Approach to assessing housing need and awarding priority
- Approach to advertising available properties
The DHC scheme includes an assessment framework which contains detailed criteria against which housing need is determined. The circumstances of all housing applicants are considered in accordance with this framework and they are then placed into one of four bands, according to need, in descending order of priority.
The Council is a member of the Management Board which oversees the work of the two Officers employed to manage DHC. These Officers are employed by Exeter City Council on behalf of the partnership.
We have two full time allocations officers who manage the social housing register of need (Devon Home Choice) in Teignbridge. They process applications and changes of circumstances, assign priority ‘banding’ status in line with the Devon Home Choice Policy and act as points of contact for applicants. The team is managed by the Housing Solutions Lead who is also responsible for conducting reviews and appeals.
Demand for social housing within Teignbridge remains high as illustrated through the graphs below.
People with a one bedroom need consistently account for around half of all applications on the Devon Home Choice register, however we have also seen an increased need for larger three and four bedroom properties in recent years.
The total number of applicants on the housing register has remained fairly static over the past four years, however there has been a reduction in total social housing allocations in the last two years. This is in part a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated Government led interventions which caused stasis and limited movement within the housing market.