Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Newham Full Council Meeting 26 November 2018 : Update on Housing Services report

This is my update to Newham Full Council meeting last week in Stratford Town Hall on our Housing Services as the Cabinet lead. I had 3 minutes for the update and I didn't quite get all of this out in the time allowed.

· Newham Council Housing Services will play its part in meeting the Mayor & Labour Group  manifesto commitment to the building of 1000 Council homes at social rent by 2022. Supplementing £107 million of new money secured from Greater London Authority (the most money granted in London) with Right to Buy capital receipts, use of estate land and prudential borrowing.

· When elected the Mayor cancelled the NewShare (equity shared ownership) programme and brought back 30 units due to be sold back into the social rented housing pool, while existing Council housing developments have also been repurposed to maximise affordable homes as far as possible under the previous administration's arrangements.

· A stock condition survey of all Council owned homes is being carried out with a capital investment programme (borough wide planned maintenance and refurbishment) of £120 million to be spent on improving the existing housing stock.

· Despite the steady rise of temporary homeless to a shocking 5100 families, we currently have no families with children in bed and breakfast temporary accommodation. However, we are running out of available self contained homes.

· A complete review of the allocations procedure and the suitability of the homeless offer is underway.

· A brand new team of resident liaison and resident services officers is being recruited and set up this will mean that soon for the first time in many years, Council tenants, leaseholders (and Councillors) will have names and contact details of housing officers responsible for all Newham estates and blocks as a first point of contact.

· These teams are also planning consultation on the rebirth of the Tenant Residents Associations movement in Newham.

· A program of planned inspections and walkabouts across all Newham Council estates involving residents, officers and Councillors is being drawn up.

· The Private Rental Sector (PRS) Licensing scheme will have an expanded staff team to support residents and good landlords by driving out bad landlords. Money from fines will be used by the Council for further PRS improvements.

· I have met with Chief Executives of Housing Associations which operate in Newham and a borough wide forum of Housing Associations, Council Officers and Councillors will be formed in order to drive up housing management standards.

· Fire safety is a priority and there are monthly Newham Council meetings and inspections on this vital issue.

· Recent criminal prosecutions, confiscation and banning orders, which have been publishised should be sending a clear message that Newham Council will (within the law) not tolerate anti social behaviour by anyone who causes misery for our residents.

· The forthcoming Newham Council Corporate redesign will look at the current fragmented nature of Housing Services and come up with possible solutions to make the service more accountable and effective.

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