Wigan resident waiting 44 YEARS for a council house leaves panel baffled

A tenant has been waiting for a council house in Wigan for 44 YEARS!
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The mystery resident has been on the list for a home in the borough since 1979, it has been revealed.

Members of Wigan Council’s Housing Advisory Panel were left baffled by the huge wait and approved a review into how applications are submitted for social housing.

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It includes changing the points system required for people to move up the waiting list.

Members were puzzled as to how this mystery resident had been on the list for so longMembers were puzzled as to how this mystery resident had been on the list for so long
Members were puzzled as to how this mystery resident had been on the list for so long
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Councillors were puzzled as to how this mystery resident had been on the list for so long, but chair Coun Susan Gambles revealed they had never submitted a bid for a social housing allocation.

However, the persistent Wiganer is aware they’re still on the list as it’s reviewed every year.

One council officer joked: “They keep coming back to us”.

Bidding is open from Thursday to Tuesday each week when hopeful tenants pitch their case for a new home with the council.

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Chris Brady, tenant representative on the panel, said: “We commented on this, and someone shouted, 1979!

“We came to the conclusion that those were the days when you had parents who said, ‘as soon as you leave the house, get your name on that list.”

Coun Phyllis Cullen added: “I’m baffled someone has been on the list since 1979.”

Jo Willmott, Wigan Council’s director of homes and communities, that 10 per cent of the housing allocation is already done on a time basis.

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She explained to the panel that this was to ensure that people deemed to be “less in need” do not go on waiting in the queue forever – in most cases anyway.

Council data shows 12,500 customers are currently on the Housing Register in the borough, with about 5,288 people bidding for properties on a regular basis. The statistics also show that only 1,228 council properties became vacant last year – lower than expected.

This extreme example of a resident waiting for a home since 1979 is what the tenant representatives used to emphasise the need to change the system for allocation social housing.

Not only did they think people waiting longer needed bumping up the queue, but better online services to avoid data loss during applications and more streamlined checks to avoid false claims were all needed for improvement.

Tenant representatives Chris Brady, Tom Dalton, Neil O’Donnell and Lucas Sibanda, all present at the town hall meeting, asked the panel if medical professionals could be brought in to check any cases claiming to have medical issues or disabilities.

This report by these four and their absent colleague Ellen Rhind was praised by the panel as a whole and was approved to be passed onto the cabinet.