A new scheme has been launched to help people in Poole who are looking for a home apply for social housing.
Dorset Home Choice brings together six local authorities and around 18 social housing landlords in Dorset to provide a "one-stop shop" for residents to apply for, and register their interest in, affordable properties.
Properties belonging to one of the partner local authorities or registered social housing providers are advertised on a weekly basis. People using the scheme can express an interest in one of the homes advertised by “bidding” for the property online. Anyone who has successfully applied to join the Housing Register can take part and bid for homes on Dorset Home Choice.
Cllr Peter Adams, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Health and Well-being, Borough of Poole, said: "This is another example of how Poole Council focuses on a person centred approach to the services it provides. The application procedures are easy to use and allocations are based on the actual needs of the applicant."
Once an applicant has registered online and bids for a property their application will be considered by the registered social landlords. Allocations will be based on those applicants with the highest need and with a connection to the local area.
The Dorset Home Choice partnership was formed in October 2008 by six local authorities in Dorset – Borough of Poole, Bournemouth Borough Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.
The partnership was awarded £225,000 by central government to create a shared IT system. The Dorset Home Choice system has been completed on time and on budget and provides a single choice-based letting scheme and housing register service across all the partners, together with a common housing allocations policy for five of the six partners.
The new system provides an efficient and cost-effective method of advertising and managing the available properties, saving both local authority staff and landlords administrative time and ultimately creating a more effective service for social housing applicants.
A representative from Synergy Housing, one of the largest landlords involved in the project said: "Dorset Home Choice will provide people more choice about where they want to live, residents will be able to decide which properties they would like to be considered for by expressing an interest or bidding for properties via the website, telephone or text message."