13 boroughs have become founding members of Capital Letters, a not-for-profit company that aims to procure accommodation for homeless Londoners and those at risk of becoming homeless.
Capital Letters announced that Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Waltham Forest, Brent, Ealing, Bexley, Lewisham, Croydon, Redbridge, Southwark, Barking and Dagenham, Westminster, and Hammersmith Fulham have all formally become founding members of the organisation.
Capital Letters is collectively owned by all 13 boroughs and is supported by £38m grant funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The organisation aims to improve the availability of housing options by reducing competition between councils.
Commenting on the announcement, Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing and Planning, said: “Capital Letters is an innovative new approach to addressing London’s homelessness crisis.
“Through working together, boroughs will strengthen our market position and secure better housing options for homeless Londoners. London has the highest levels of homelessness in the country and boroughs are determined to improve outcomes for homeless Londoners.”
At the inaugural meeting of Capital Letters, Cllr Stephanie Cryan (Southwark) was elected to chair the Capital Letters Boroughs’ Representative Body. Cllr Sirajul Islam (Tower Hamlets) and Cllr Alex Sawyer (Bexley) were appointed as vice chairs.
Cryan, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Modernisation at Southwark Council, said: “Capital Letters is an exciting project and shows boroughs’ commitment to finding new solutions to London’s homelessness challenge.
“I look forward to seeing Capital Letters progress over the coming months and start delivering the benefits boroughs are so keen to achieve.”
The Boroughs’ Representative Body will be responsible for formulating the strategy and business plan of Capital Letters, and is made up of political representatives from each of the member boroughs.
Mark Baigent, interim Director of Housing and Regeneration at Tower Hamlets, was appointed chair of the Capital Letters Board of Directors.
The establishment of Capital Letters has been coordinated by the London Housing Directors’ Group and London Councils.
The scheme aims to start procuring properties by June 2019.