London gets £11m to build modular homes for homeless families

More than 54,000 homeless households now living in “temporary accommodation” across the capital.


Modular home building in London gets an £11m boost, with more than 54,000 homeless households now living in ‘temporary accommodation’ across the capital – at least four-fifths of them families with children.

The London boroughs have joined forces with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to manufacture modular homes, and the £11m makes more than 200 of them available on land awaiting development.

It’s an initiative run by the Pan-London Accommodation Collaborative Enterprise (PLACE), a not-for-profit company hosted by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on behalf of those councils involved.

PLACE is also supported by the umbrella body London Councils and has been developed by the London Housing Directors’ Group.

PLACE’s precision-manufactured homes will have the quality of permanent housing, will meet the Mayor’s draft London Plan space standards, and can be moved from one site to another as required – with a focus on two and three-bedroom homes.

Khan calls rising homelessness a “national disgrace”, as London councils are left with little choice other than to offer homeless families expensive housing a long way from their local area.

“I’m pleased to support this new initiative that makes use of modular construction and temporarily vacant sites to help ease some of that pressure and make a real difference to the families involved,” he said.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing and Planning, said: “London faces the most severe housing crisis in the country, and boroughs are determined to work together to secure better accommodation for homeless Londoners.

“PLACE will deliver new family-sized housing for homeless Londoners in their borough – close to their schools, jobs and support networks – and provide a high-quality alternative to other forms of temporary accommodation.

“It represents an innovative new approach, and we’re pleased to have the Mayor’s support for this crucial work,” he said.

To get involved in the scheme, boroughs need to identify a meanwhile site and join PLACE which will then procure the modular housing units and manage the installation and removal.

The homes will be rented to boroughs at 90% of the 2011 Local Housing Allowance rate.

Councillor Rachel Blake, Tower Hamlets Deputy Mayor for Regeneration and Air Quality, said: “With London’s temporary housing crisis getting worse, this funding is very welcome and will support local authorities to collaborate.

“It’s really exciting news and a big boost to an important project that will provide innovative solutions to homelessness in Tower Hamlets.”

Further details, including the manufacturer of these homes, will be announced in due course.

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