York & North Yorkshire

York Council housing waiting list increases by 70%

The number of people waiting for council housing in York has risen by more than 70% in a year.

The City of York Council said the growth in demand was due to the high cost of property in the city.

Housing charity Shelter said the average private rent in the city for a two-bedroom home was around £650.

The Labour-run council said more than 4,500 people were now on its waiting list for homes but supply was "limited".

Tracey Simpson-Laing, deputy leader of the council, said: "York is one of the most expensive areas outside the south east of the country.

"People are coming to us saying we need a council or housing association home but the supply is limited."

In September 2011 there were 2,731 people waiting for a property. By October 2012 the figure had risen to 4,674.

Health risk

Stacey Jackson, who lives with her three children and partner in a two-bedroom housing association flat, has complained to the council about problems with damp and black mould.

She has been told it could be up to a year before another home is available despite health and overcrowding concerns.

The family's youngest child, Isla, was born prematurely and spent six weeks in a special care baby unit earlier this year.

Miss Jackson said: "The health visitor has been and they weren't happy with it. I just feel really angry. It is somebody's health and they are ignoring us."

In a letter to the council, health visitor Russell Dowson urged the authority to re-house the family.

He wrote: "This property is not suitable and specifically puts Isla at an increased risk of suffering cot death."

The City of York Council said: "We are doing our utmost to support the family within the policy framework that we operate to ensure fair priority for all on housing waiting lists."

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