Mum loses patience with local housing association

Amy Prince and her son Aaron outside thier overcrowed house on Talbot Court''w121203
Amy Prince and her son Aaron outside thier overcrowed house on Talbot Court''w121203

A FURIOUS Whitby mum has said a housing association which serves the area is failing its clients.

Amy Prince (28) lives in a two-bedroom Yorkshire Coast Homes (YCH) property in Talbot Court with her partner, two daughters and son Aaron, who will turn two in June.

While her daughters share a bedroom, the toddler still sleeps in the same room as his parents and with very little affordable housing available, Ms Prince is worried about what will happen as her family continues to grow up.

She said: “Our personal housing officer said they can’t tell us when there will be three-bedroom houses available.

“My daughters share the back bedroom and me and my partner share my front room with Aaron in with us in a cot.

“He shouldn’t be in the same room as us and you can’t have him in with my daughters, but the housing association have said he can go in the same room as my daughters until he’s nine – when my eldest will be 18.

“The officer said we won’t be classed as overcrowded when the children grow up and move out, but that isn’t good enough.”

Ms Prince works part-time at Poundland, while her partner is a chef at Mr Chips fish and chip restaurant.

Despite this, with Whitby’s inflated private rental costs due to limited supply, Ms Prince said she can not afford private rents and must therefore rely on the housing association system.

When an applicant registers their interest and joins the North Yorkshire Home choice scheme, a scheme guide is issued and sent with a letter to the applicant so they are aware of their application’s priority.

The guide gives advice on their priority, weekly advertising of properties, how to bid for properties, short lists and when bids can be overlooked.

However, Ms Prince said there are many problems with the whole process, relating to how different houses are allocated.

The bidding process means that even if a family is on the waiting list for properties, they must bid weekly for each available dwelling that meets their needs.

She highlighted the Blue Bell affordable housing development as a recent problem.

As this site is administered by Sanctuary Housing, Ms Prince did not realise she could bid for a property with a different association and she believes this has led to people who have less of a need jumping in ahead of her.

She said that Yorkshire Coast Homes should have realised that there were families, such as her own, who were overcrowded and these should have taken priority over any bidding process, adding: “You should just be given the house you need.

“You have to go on the website every week to bid for properties, but what about the people that don’t have internet?

“They’ve given these houses to people who don’t need them.

“There’s one lady who’s been given a three-bedroom house but she’s only pregnant with her third child.

“Why didn’t they give someone else the house if she’s not eligible?

“There’s loads of people who want three-bedroom houses so when they give them out to people that have only got two children I think that’s wrong, and you get the feeling that they know they’ve done something wrong.”

A spokesperson for Yorkshire Coast Homes said: “While I am not at liberty to discuss Ms Prince’s individual circumstances, I can advise that there remains a high demand for all family homes in Whitby and they do not become vacant very often.

“There were over 70 families on the shortlist for a three-bedroomed property on the Blue Bell site, and only 10 properties available.

“Therefore disappointing many applicants.

“Yorkshire Coast Homes works with its partners to make every effort to find appropriate accommodation for local people, especially if their needs are urgent.

“We have an excellent record in supplying good quality accommodation but are always constrained by what property is available at any given time.

“Our significant waiting list is testament to the lack of available social housing in Whitby at the current time.”