The review of St Helena Government’s Housing Waiting List has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the numbers on the Housing Register, says Housing Executive Andy Crowe:
“The old list included people who weren’t in housing need and it had never been updated. We now have a much clearer picture of who really needs housing.”
The number of households on the list has fallen from 71 to 23, following the adoption of the new Housing Register. At about 14% of all households on the Island, this best compares with the south west of England, where average local incomes tend to be low and house prices are generally high. In the UK, there are 1.6 million households on Council waiting lists.
Many Saints applying for housing currently share with other householders and some live in homes in very poor condition. Seven applicants on the new Register are single people and the rest are families. 15 would prefer to live in Jamestown, with Half Tree Hollow the second preference. Their average income is £8500 although a few earn over £15000, and most need one and two bedroom homes.
“What does this tell us? Well, with such small numbers it is difficult to make sweeping statements, but we now have a better idea of who we need to help. We need to manage expectations – we will never get the number of vacancies we need in Jamestown. People who opt only for Jamestown may be waiting a very long time.
‘’Most applicants are in employment, but the combination of wage levels and house prices makes it impossible for them to afford to buy. It is therefore important that we create a local housing market that also caters for low income families.
“We have also contacted all of the households that did not reapply to join the Register, to remind them to do so if they are still in need. I suspect that the number will climb a little from 23, but what we now know makes it much easier to plan ahead.”