Thousands of extra homes will be made available for vulnerable Londoners at risk of becoming homeless as a result of councils in the capital joining forces and extra financial support from the Government.
Through an innovative new scheme London boroughs are combining to provide safe accommodation for families on the verge of homelessness. They are being backed by almost £38 million of funding over the next three years from the Government’s £1.2 billion overall investment in tackling homelessness.
The additional homes will help provide a long-term, stable solution for vulnerable families struggling to find secure accommodation, providing a safety net for those who may otherwise feel they have nowhere else to go.
Currently, all London boroughs are responsible for providing accommodation for those at risk of homelessness both inside and outside their area. This often leads to councils competing for the best accommodation, driving up prices and slowing down the provision of quality housing for the most vulnerable.
The new scheme will stop this from happening by encouraging London boroughs to work together in boosting accommodation to tackle homelessness across the capital.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “Everyone deserves a safe and secure home. I’ve seen for myself how hard each of the London boroughs works to provide those that are homeless with the support they need and a roof over their heads.
“This radical new way of working and unprecedented collaboration between the boroughs and government will make a real difference – providing more accommodation for the vulnerable and helping them to get back on their feet and away from homelessness for good.”
Councillor Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning, said: “With so many homeless households and so little accommodation available, London faces the country’s most serious homelessness challenge.
“Capital Letters is a crucial opportunity to do things differently – and we are extremely pleased to have the Government’s support for this innovative work. Through collaboration, boroughs will collectively strengthen our market position and secure much better housing options for homeless Londoners.”
To date, 11 London boroughs have signed up to the scheme, with more expected to come on board in the future. Over the next three years, the scheme is expected to help over 35,000 households within Greater London out of homelessness.
The councils are establishing a not-for-profit company to deliver the Capital Letters programme. They will be tasked with providing this vital service on behalf of the boroughs and will undertake the management of the homes which are provided.
The joined-up approach will also give those at risk of homelessness the chance to stay closer to where they currently live, meaning that disruption to their employment or education can be reduced during what is already a difficult time.
Capital Letters is being supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as part of the Government’s commitment to addressing homelessness and encouraging collaborative solutions to tackle the issue.
A group of 11 boroughs will join Capital Letters initially, with others expected to become members at a later stage. The initial members are Tower Hamlets, Bexley, Haringey, Waltham Forest, Brent, Ealing, Barking and Dagenham, Croydon, Lewisham, Redbridge and Southwark.
By Patrick Mooney, editor