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Gateway to Homechoice scheme suspended

Posted by on 31 March 2020 | Comments

The Gateway to Homechoice scheme has been temporarily suspended in a response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The scheme, which is a partnership between eight councils in Suffolk and Essex, gives residents the opportunity to bid for council and housing association homes which is advertised on the Gateway to Homechoice website.

The decision to suspend the scheme means that available properties will no longer be advertised or allocated, nor will people be able to bid for properties until further notice.

There are a number of reasons why this decision has been taken, including:

  • All landlords using the scheme have stopped the process of works to properties that are vacant as this cannot currently be undertaken safely on a routine basis
  • The organisations are concerned for the safety of staff and members of the public for the process of viewing and signing up to properties
  • It is not practical or desirable, during a period of lock-down for people to move from one property to another and support services (such as removals) are likely to be unavailable

This means that properties will not be advertised and allocated through the scheme, nor will people be able to bid for properties until further notice.

Cllr Richard Kerry, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “The decision to suspend the scheme was not taken lightly by the partnership. However, it had to be made as it wouldn’t be safe to ask people to bid for, view and move into new properties at a time when we are all being asked to stay at home and maintain social distancing.

“We appreciate that this can cause some inconvenience, but we hope that everyone can understand that it is being done to safeguard the health of the public.”

Meanwhile, East Suffolk Council is working to ensure that available housing stock is allocated to those who are particular vulnerable during this time, to ensure they are able to self-isolate and practice social distancing in line with the government’s official guidelines.

Cllr Kerry continued: “We are committed to making sure that everyone has somewhere safe to stay, especially during this unprecedented time, and we are working hard to allocate accommodation to those who are particular vulnerable due to unsuitable living arrangements.”

For more information and the latest updates, go to www.gatewaytohomechoice.org.uk