Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales is fighting homelessness


- Credit: Newham Cll PR

London’s housing crisis is never out of the headlines.

This week, homelessness charity, Shelter, highlighted the problem local authorities in the capital are facing caused by the shortage of affordable homes leaving no choice but to house thousands of families in temporary accommodation.

Research from the Ministry of Justice also shows a rise in evictions, with possession claims from landlords rising almost 10 per cent meaning more families are being placed in temporary accommodation.

In Newham, the problem is exacerbated by central London boroughs such as Westminster placing hundreds of homeless families in temporary accommodation here, reducing suitable properties available to us.

The Government gave Conservative controlled-Westminster more than £8 million homelessness funding last year, more than any other London borough, while Newham received less than £700,000.

The Government’s huge, unfair cuts in the benefits system are fundamentally changing London for the worse by forcing poor people out of wealthier areas they used to call home. It is outrageous that in addition to imposing ill-thought through welfare reforms the Government makes such ludicrous, politically motivated decisions about the allocation of resources to help manage the impact of its decisions.

I am doing all I can to ensure Newham has good quality affordable housing which is fairly distributed. We have invested in Local Space, a not-for-profit landlord which provides quality temporary accommodation.

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Red Door Ventures will build and buy at least 3,500 new homes for rent – with up to half offered at subsidised rents. We have also established a shared equity scheme to assist Newham residents to access affordable home ownership.

I recognise the importance of ensuring high standards in both the private rented sector and also the lettings industry. This is why we introduced private rented sector property licensing and we have inspected every letting agent in Newham to ensure they are complying with the law.

However, fairer Government funding is needed to ensure the outer boroughs are not left to deal with this pressure. Ultimately all local authorities are paying more for the Government’s unfair decisions. London authorities need to work closely together to find a solution.

More from Sir Robin Wales.

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