What is being done by the Council to ensure that local people have access to affordable housing?
The housing challenges in Newham are substantial, but progress is being made. Newham has the second highest number of new homes being delivered of any London borough, with 2,678 delivered over 2018/19 and an ambitious development pipeline.
The commitment to start 1000 new social rent homes by 2022 is on track. The Council bid for and secured £107m of affordable housing grant from the Mayor of London - the highest allocation to any borough in London, and a reflection of the confidence the Mayor of London and GLA have in Newham’s ability to deliver.
By the end of March 2021, the Council had ‘started on site’ over 460 new homes for rent and 29 shared ownership homes.
Populo Living, the Council’s wholly owned housing delivery company, will ensure that fifty percent of its housing output will be genuinely affordable.
Why has Carpenters Estate been left empty for so long?
In line with Newham Mayor’s manifesto commitment, the restoration of the estate by the Council will mean that at least fifty percent of all homes will be at social rent levels that residents can afford.
Working closely with residents and Populo Living (the council’s wholly owned housing delivery organisation) the Council will restore Carpenters Estate into a thriving, sustainable and financially viable neighbourhood for Newham residents to live in – in homes they can genuinely afford.
The programme is one of the most significant estate restoration projects in London.
There are thousands of people on the housing waiting list, why can’t they live at Carpenters Estate?
Although there are significant restoration plans for Carpenters Estate, years of disinvestment by the government has left some parts in a condition that is not adequate for residents to live in.
What type of housing is the Council planning to deliver?
The housing which the Council delivers will meet a range of needs, which means striking a balance between the government’s agenda and what the market brings forward, and what residents needs and what works for Newham. Evidence will be a big part of this and the combined Strategic Housing Market Assessment and Housing Needs Assessment (SHMA) will inform much of the forthcoming planning. This is currently being carried out.
As well as considering the needs of families, groups whose housing needs and aspirations must be considered as part of this approach include:
- Multigenerational families
- Gypsies, Roma and Travellers
- People with disabilities and special needs
- Groups considering self-build
- Children leaving care
- Key workers
- Multi-family sharers
- Older people
Is social and Council housing being refurbished?
Newham has started a massive programme to upgrade its housing stock to make it safe and environmentally sustainable – starting with a comprehensive stock condition survey and allocating £96m to a three year maintenance programme.
Estates will receive upgrades to play areas and communal areas and reviews of the condition of housing stock is being carried out to ensure that essential works are done as quickly as possible.
Why are so many residents and children living in cramped conditions in temporary accommodation? And for so long?
London faces a serious housing crisis and lack of social and council housing. Newham, as an inner city borough, can mean that private sector housing costs are out of the reach of local people, particularly those on low incomes. These conditions have led to thousands of people being housed in temporary accommodation.
The Council carefully considers all applications for temporary or emergency accommodation and always places residents in available housing that best meets their needs. It is changing its housing allocation policy to ensure that Council housing goes to those in greatest need.
To maximise the availability of affordable housing, the Mayor has promised an end to all outsourced housing and is investing millions in the development of affordable housing in the short, medium and long term.
Mayor Fiaz said: “Every day I hear from local families in Newham who live in insecure, overcrowded or substandard housing and my heart goes out to them. I know what it is like having had the experience of losing my family home when I was younger and spending several years living in temporary accommodation. Nothing is more important than having a place to call home.
“There has been a significant lack of funding by the government in social and affordable housing across the UK for years, and it is absolutely unacceptable that thousands of families are left with insecure housing or who are sleeping rough.
“As someone who grew up with insecure housing, I remember just how fundamental a roof over your head is to every other aspect of life – as Mayor, this Council is dedicated to helping others out of that same situation.”
What is being done to protect residents from bad or exploitative landlords in the private sector?
Newham’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) licencing scheme was the first of its kind when introduced, and almost 40,000 licences have been issued. Licensing means tenants rights are better protected in Newham than anywhere else in the country.
The Council are working with Safer Renting and Generation Rent on supporting tenants where problems arise as well as resourcing tenancy liaison officers to defend tenants’ rights. To get further advice then go to; help when renting privately.
Additionally, new PRS programmes around energy efficiency improvements to tackle fuel poverty and reducing empty homes have been agreed, ensuring that landlords contribute to the urgent response to the Climate Emergency.
What is being done to support rough sleepers?
The council’s most recent data shows that rough sleeping in Newham declined by 91% for 2020/21, the biggest proportion in the country. This is because we have had strategies in place to house our most vulnerable and create new and affordable housing in the next few weeks, months and in the longer term.
The Mayor is investing £3m in a new homelessness and rough sleeping centre, building 1000 new council homes at social rent levels, and investing millions more across housing.
Newham has already adopted and is starting to implement a new two-year Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy to help prevent rough sleeping and reduce the numbers in temporary accommodation.
The Council’s response to homelessness and rough sleeping will be caring and compassionate.
How can residents have their say on housing?
The Council is developing a resident involvement strategy, which will set out the housing service’s new approach to putting residents first. Housing services are creating more opportunities for residents to discuss housing issues face-to-face through housing hubs, housing liaison officers, and regular tenant and leaseholder forums.
The Council is encouraging residents to be involved with all regeneration programmes, to ensure their views and concerns are taken into account.
What is the council doing to reduce its carbon footprint?
Delivery of new housing in Newham is accelerating, and the council is committed to ensuring it helps the Council to meet its Climate Emergency commitments. This means it will do everything possible to radically address carbon emissions and fuel poverty, including new Private Rented Sector programmes, to boost energy efficiency across the borough. See action plan 2020-21 for more details.