Build More Social Housing In Lewisham

Cllr Alan Hall has joined campaigners demanding more social housing and an end to the housing ’emergency’.

Campaign to build social housing

Radical action is needed now as according to Shelter – the housing charity – there is a housing crisis, where 120,000 children are homeless, 282,000 social homes have been lost in the last decade and 3.7 million private renters have been victims of illegal behaviour by a landlord or agent.

Cllr Alan Hall has signed a letter to the new Secretary of State, Michael Gove urging him to act now to:

  • Improve the rights of renters by bringing forward an ambitious Renter’s Reform Bill to create a fairer renting system  
  • Build more homes people can afford by committing to more social housing and fixing the planning system to make developers deliver more
  • Help people at risk of sleeping rough by funding the Everyone In initiative to protect people who are homeless this Winter 

Without more social homes, the country won’t be able to escape the grip of the housing emergency. More people will become stuck in unaffordable, overcrowded, insecure housing – especially families and older people.

Government funding will be spent on helping the growing number of families cover the cost of unaffordable private rents through housing benefit, rather than investing in the bricks and mortar of new homes with guaranteed low rents.

Council housing at rents that people can really afford is needed now.

For too long ‘affordable’ has been misused as a term for rents. Social housing should be at traditional Council rents.

The definitions of affordable according to the GLA

You can read the full letter here.

Alan-Hall-letter_to_Michael_Gove-shelter-041021

Specialist housing advice is available and Shelter say that you can talk to an expert housing adviser if you’re in urgent need of housing advice at their helpline on 0808 800 4444

Shelter say you should use this line if:

You have nowhere to sleep, or might be homeless soon

You have somewhere to sleep, but nowhere to call home

You are/could be at risk of harm

Shelter’s helpline is open every single day of the year:

8am – 8pm on weekdays

9am – 5pm on weekends

Urgent Action Needed To Tackle Homelessness Now

Cllr Alan Hall has joined housing campaigners, Shelter by writing to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on the tory Government to take “urgent action to protect people at risk of being on the streets as a result of the pandemic.”

This follows the tragic news that a homeless person sleeping rough at Bell Green, died. In a response to a formal Council Question at Lewisham Council’s meeting held on 25th November 2020, Cllr Alan Hall asked for a review of the case to learn any lessons and for the Coroner to be contacted, if necessary. He received an undertaking that this would be done.

Cllr Alan Hall’s Question is at 57 minutes

Shelter have said that a new lockdown means we need new protections. The Government needs to provided enough support to those who are homeless or threatened by homelessness as a result of the latest lockdown as a matter of urgency.

The full text of the letter is here:

Dear Prime Minister,

Since the announcement of a new national lockdown your government are yet to lay out all the protections needed that will help those threatened by homelessness.

Over the last year, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs, with a rapidly growing number of people also under threat of losing their homes.

Shelter advice services are hearing from more and more people in need of accommodation.

With more bitterly cold weather forecasted, we need you to take urgent action to protect people at risk of being on the streets as a result of the pandemic. We want you to:

• Publish clear guidance to dire councils to provide sage emergency accommodation to everyone at risk of the streets

• Provide financial support to renters to help pay off arrears built up due to COVID-19

• Scrap the benefit cap and review housing benefit rates to ensure people can pay the rent, and to prevent growing rent arrears and eviction

We need urgent action now to help those facing housing issues at this difficult time. Please do everything in your power to ensure everyone have a warm, dry and safe place to live during the pandemic.

Cllr Alan Hall

Join the campaign here

Build, Build, Build Social Housing

Time for a generational shift in housing policy to build, build, build social housing

An economic downturn, possibly a great depression is predicted for the UK. Boris Johnson’s disastrous speech says that he realises that the country needs to increase building. However, his answer is to recycle announcements and to let the market decide. If the loosening of planning rules leads to more residential development the quality, the sustainability and safety of these buildings is frankly questionable. Inside Housing found that critics of the policy say it allows developers to build homes well below space standards, remote from infrastructure or with insufficient natural light, as well as dodge affordable housing obligations.

There is another way. Housing campaigners, Shelter – where former Lewisham, Deptford MP Dame Joan Ruddock worked in the late 1960s – has proposed that there should be a historic renewal of social housing, with a 20-year programme to deliver 3.1 million more social homes.

Shelter say: “Today we are feeling the effects of 40 years of failure in housing policy. This crisis has seen a catastrophic decline in social housing, leaving millions in insecure and unaffordable rented homes – with home ownership an impossible dream, and increasing numbers of people tipped into homelessness.”

“If we continue as we are, only half of today’s young people are likely to ever own their own home – and a generation of younger people and many who are retired will spend their lives struggling with insecure, expensive renting. Over the next twenty years, hundreds of thousands more people will be forced into homelessness by insecure tenancies and sky-high housing costs. But if we act now, we can change this.”

Shelter have launched a petition calling for the Government to build social housing. In the housing sector definitions over tenure have become blurred and politicised. Affordable housing has been defined as up to 80% market rent. In London, commentators rightly point out that this is not ‘affordable’ to many.

Shelter have said recently: “Social rents are much cheaper than other so-called affordable tenures, such as London Affordable Rent. Looking at 2-bed properties once again, Shelter found that an average London Affordable Rent would cost £690 a month – nearly £200 more every month than an equivalent median social rent letting.”

“Only social rent delivery can meet the affordability needs of the private renters, workers, and homeless families at the sharpest end of London’s housing emergency. Yet despite a growing need, social homes in London have almost entirely disappeared over the past 10 years. Just 534 additional social homes were delivered in London last year – a decrease of 95% compared to 2011-12, in which more than 11,000 properties for social rent were delivered.”

Cllr Alan Hall has supported Shelter’s call for an economic boost to recovery by building social homes that local Lewisham people can afford. The preamble to the petition says:

The pandemic has shown the need for more, better quality, affordable homes – yet shocking new analysis predicts the pandemic will see 84,000 fewer homes delivered this year, with a 30% drop in social housing being built.

As a country, we can do better. A more resilient future is possible by putting social housing at the heart of our recovery. We need good quality, secure homes to get back on our feet.

The time for change is now. Join us and call on the government builds social homes to boost housebuilding, support construction jobs, and begin to deliver the stable, genuinely affordable homes this pandemic has shown us people are urgently waiting for.

Cllr Alan Hall has supported Shelter’s call for an economic boost to recovery by building social homes that local Lewisham people can afford, he says: “Build, build, build social homes for an economic recovery in Lewisham, London and beyond.

Sign the petition here