One of the principal ways Girton Town Charity fulfils its remit to relieve the needs of Village residents is through housing provision. It currently has 13 almshouses, with a further 15 under construction at Dovehouse Court, which are intended for Girton families, either to help them save and move onto their own housing or for active retirees who can live independently.
What is an almshouse?
These one, two and three bedroom unfurnished homes are made available to those with a Girton connection. They are let as almshouses which means they are subject to different legal arrangements from private, council or housing association tenancies.
Residents are ‘appointees’, not ‘tenants’, live in the house under licence and pay a maintenance contribution, not rent. As they are almshouses there is no ‘right-to-buy’ or opportunity for shared equity.
How are residents selected?
Vacancies are advertised locally and residents can apply and are interviewed. Decisions are made on the basis of a wide range of criteria including the interview.
How long can residents stay?
With almshouses residency for under 55’s is limited to a maximum of three years. Over 55’s or in the case of disability, appointments are made for as long as the resident is able to live independently.
All residents sign a Letter of Appointment which clearly states the terms and conditions of residency.
What happens at the end of the residency?
All residents will be aware of the length of their tenancy as stated in their initial Letter of Appointment. For three year appointments residents receive a reminder notice several months ahead of the end of the residency.
This will outline the next steps they must take to look for alternative housing.
Support and assistance is also provided to enable appointees to look at the options available which include Housing Associations and private rental. Appointees are also encouraged to remain on the SCDC Homelink list.
Almshouse charities are the oldest form of social housing in this country, providing accommodation to those in need. Today over 35,000 people live in almshouses in the UK.