Maidstone social housing help for volunteers and local people

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Plans to prioritise social housing for people who do voluntary work and local people will be introduced in Maidstone.

Maidstone Borough Council claims the previous points-based system encouraged deprivation by giving priority to those on benefits.

Under the new scheme due to start in April, only people living in the town will go on the waiting list for accommodation.

Those doing voluntary work in the community will also get priority.

The council's head of housing, John Littlemore, said the current scheme is over 10 years old and he wants to see a much simpler system.

'Greater opportunity'

"The first principle is that everyone will have to have a housing need first," he said.

"If people are in work or doing something in their local community then that can be taken as a characteristic that gives them greater opportunity for access to social housing."

Opposition leader on the council Fran Wilson said she broadly supported the plans.

"What was in existence before was clearly failing on a number of accounts and so we're pleased to see this is being looked at and they're bringing new proposals forward," she said.

"Clearly we will be watching it very closely when implemented because it's likely there will still be people falling through the gap."

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