MORE than 100 tenants have volunteered to downsize their council homes after the launch of a campaign to free-up larger properties for families.
There are 18,000 people on Sheffield’s housing waiting list, including many families who desperately need larger accommodation.
Smart Move was launched by Sheffield Homes to encourage tenants who may have outgrown their bigger housing to move to a smaller property.
Among those to make the change are Janine Buxton, her husband Simon, their five-year-old daughter Courtney, and family cat Charlie, who have moved from a three-bed house to a two-bed house in Firth Park.
Mrs Buxton said: “We are really happy with our new home. Moving under Smart Move has been a really good experience for us. We only need two bedrooms and wanted to stay in Firth Park so Courtney could go to the same school and stay close to her friends.
“We have the same living space and gained a private garden for Courtney to play in.
“Our previous house only had a shared courtyard, so we have everything we need and one fewer bedroom to heat in winter.
“Before we moved we had seen two other properties that weren’t quite right for us but we were under no pressure to move. When we saw the third property it was ideal.”
Sheffield Council cabinet member for housing, Coun Penny Baker welcomed the Buxtons into their new home.
She said: “Smart Move provides exactly the right support for council tenants wanting to move to a smaller, more manageable home.
“It gives them their own choice about where and when they want to move and the type of property they would like to move into. It is purely voluntary.
“I encourage anyone who feels their home is too big for them or costing them too much to run to get in touch with Sheffield Homes.”
Since Smart Move was launched, 109 tenants have signed up and 24 have already down-sized. Another 13 families have moved into the larger, freed-up properties.