Cloch Housing Association, Oak Tree Housing Association and River Clyde Homes have created a common housing register for available housing in the Inverclyde area.
Cloch and Oak Tree have already merged their housing lists and RCH is likely to join the scheme within the next six months.
The new policy for letting houses is based on choice based lettings principles. This will be a major change for most applicants. To be considered for housing, people will need to be on the joint housing list. To apply for housing they need only complete a simple registration form and will receive an application reference.
Existing applicants will remain on the housing list, but their points may change. A points system similar to the one used at present will be operated. However, it is going to be simpler and have fewer points' categories. Following the extensive tenant consultation applicants will now be awarded points for medical need; overcrowding; under occupation; lacking basic amenities; living in a property with a severe defect or due for demolition; homelessness or being threatened with homelessness and leaving tied or army accommodation.
Applicants will be given a detailed statement of their new points and details of their application in January 2012. Cloch and Oak Tree will be running extra applicant surgeries during January and February to cope with the demand from applicants to discuss their application and how the new system will work.
The first properties available to let by Cloch and Oak Tree will be advertised from January 17. These will be advertised in the Greenock Telegraph, in the associations' offices and on their websites. Available properties will be sent each week to Inverclyde Council offices, community centres and a range of local groups including ICOD and Your Voice, for example.
RCH is finalising its housing list review and will close its existing list to new applicants when it begins the process of transferring to the new joint list. At this point applicants for RCH homes should apply through the joint allocations scheme. It is hoped the process of joining together the three housing lists will be completed by June 2012.
Nick Jardine of Oak Tree said: "By working together, we intend to use our resources more efficiently to offer applicants a streamlined service. Applicants will have to make only one application and can deal with any of the landlords when updating their application. We also want to ensure our new system will give people useful and accurate information about their chances of being rehoused and what they can do to give themselves the best chance of getting the home they need."