Why we set up our own council housing company

Across London there is a desperate need for affordable homes, and this is especially true in Haringey.

haringey

In our borough, more than 9,000 households are waiting for a home – local families, young couples, people working tirelessly to keep a roof over their heads.

Providing more council housing is at the very heart of Haringey’s vision – not just building houses, but building good quality, comfortable homes where our residents want, and can afford, to live.

We want council homes, at council rents, on council land.

In fact, we have committed to delivering 1,000 new council homes over the next four years and have every intention of doing so.

That is why we are setting up our own housing company, ensuring that we have the power and tools to deliver homes that are genuinely accessible to all.

That is not to say we won’t need help – the task here is massive.

Successive governments have limited the amount councils can borrow and restricted how we can spend right-to-buy receipts, making the task much harder.

Councils have had to come up with innovative ways around these restrictions. And the Haringey Development Vehicle, which we decided not to proceed with, showed just how strongly opinions differ on the best way to tackle this housing shortage.

Our new company is obviously not intended as a replacement for the HDV, it’s completely different.

And we aren’t saying that working with others to deliver the housing we need and to meet our London Plan targets is wrong, however we are clear about what that relationship will look like, particularly when it comes to our own land.

The new company is almost the reverse of the HDV because we view this as a municipal intervention in the market, whereas many viewed the HDV as a disproportionate market intervention in municipal land.

As we focus on delivering new homes, it is also important to think about tenants already living on our estates, who also need safe and sustainable homes.

Under my tenure we will be working towards making sure 95% of our council homes meet decent homes standard by 2022.

We must also acknowledge the London-wide crisis of homelessness. Of the 9,000+ households on Haringey’s waiting list, 3,000 are homeless households in temporary accommodation. This has to be addressed.

We know providing homes for all is a massive challenge.

We know it takes time, creativity and money. But this is a challenge we must win.

After nearly 40 years of being forced to leave social housing delivery to others, the council is now getting into the driving seat, and the message is clear: We are here to deliver housing for Haringey.

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