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GHA launches homechoice pilot

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GHA is to launch a three-month pilot in the west of the city for a new choice based letting system.

The pilot is being launched on 17 March and will enable an estimated 10,000 people who have expressed an interest to rent within the west of the city to fully ‘road-test’ the system.

GHA homechoice has been designed to replace the old points-based allocation system, which has been in use for almost 30 years and has been criticised by some as bureaucratic, inflexible and inefficient. Homechoice aims to alter the way homes are allocated to tenants by giving applicants the chance to register an interest in properties which become available.

GHA Board agreed in October 2008 to a pilot to fully test the homechoice system and processes. The three-month pilot will be evaluated for customer and staff accessibility, ease of use and value for money.

Martin Armstrong, GHA’s Executive Director of Housing and Customer Services said: “It is vital that our customers are at the heart of everything we do which is why we want to give them the chance to have their say on GHA homechoice.

“A pilot is the only way for customers to test the system first hand. Their feedback will ensure we know whether or not GHA homechoice fully meets their needs. If it does get the thumbs up, the pilot will ensure we launch the full homechoice system right first time.”

Only properties in the west of the city will be included in the pilot. Properties in all other parts of the city will continue to be allocated using the existing points-based system for the duration of the pilot.

The 11 Local Housing Organisations (LHOs) taking part in the pilot are all based within GHA’s West Local Shared Services. They are:

• Argyle LHO
• Cernach Housing Association
• Clydeside Tenant Partnership
• Garscadden and Spiers LHO
• Glasgow West Housing Association LHO (Hyndland)
• Great Western Tenant Partnership
• Knights Housing Services
• Pineview Housing Co-op
• Tenant Managed Homes (TMH) Drumchapel
• Whiteinch and Scotstoun Housing Association LHO
• Yorkhill LHO

These LHOs cover the following areas:

• Anderston      
• Anniesland
• Blairdardie
• Broomhill
• Cairnsmore
• Drumchapel
• Garscadden
• Garscube
• Hillhead
• Jordanhill
• Kelvindale
• Knightswood
• Netherton
• Partick
• Peterson Park
• Scotstoun
• Temple
• Whiteinch
• Yoker
• Woodside

Every applicant who has already expressed a preference for a home within the pilot boundary will be automatically included in the GHA homechoice system and will be sent an information pack prior to the launch of homechoice fully explaining the details of the new service.

Applicants outwith these areas who are interested in renting within the west of the city can also register with GHA homechoice by calling Freephone 0800 479 8888, or by contacting their own LHO.
GHA will advertise available properties every week in Local Housing Organisations (LHOs) in the west of the city, in the Evening Times’ City Living newspaper supplement on a Tuesday and on the GHA website.  Applicants will be able to note an interest in up to six properties each week until 8pm the following Monday.
All notes of interest received before the deadline of 8pm on Monday will get equal consideration. However for certain properties, GHA homechoice will still take account of specific needs such as homelessness, overcrowding and medical issues and will prioritise tenants with such needs.
The successful applicant will be contacted within two days of the advert closing to make arrangements for them to view the property. Applicants are able to change their mind after the viewing to ensure they find a home that suits their needs.
GHA homechoice is one of the few choice based letting systems in the UK to offer unsuccessful applicants the chance to gain feedback. Applicants are able to sign up to be notified by text or email if they have been unsuccessful.
Should tenant feedback and a fully independent pilot evaluation show that tenants do not fully engage with GHA homechoice then GHA will explore all other options available to ensure the fairest, most efficient and cost-effective letting service possible. 

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