Barking & Dagenham LBC
The council has pioneered a new form of affordable housing provision designed to help ordinary working Londoners who don’t qualify for a council home. While local prices are relatively low for London they have increased sharply, putting private homes out of many people’s reach. Barking & Dagenham has set up the Reside company to deliver infrastructure housing, tenure-blind homes offered for rent from 38% of market rents for the most vulnerable residents, through to rents affordable for those on low incomes, and to homes for 80-100% of market rent. This produces a surplus for the council’s general fund to support frontline services.
Brick By Brick
Croydon Smaller Sites Programme
Croydon has set up Brick by Brick as a small development company to make use of 50 small sites previously considered unviable but which will now provide 1,000 homes. It demonstrates how thinking creatively about design for infill sites has created 30 schemes delivering 50% affordable housing and new community facilities. Brick by Brick delivers homes across the borough, with Croydon as its sole shareholder. It buys services from the council’s development division, so its staff are council employees. Design teams have worked with timber frame contractors to make the most of modern methods of construction to deliver cost efficiency across the programme.
Reducing tenancy breakdown
Budget cuts had seen numerous supported housing schemes closed, leaving vulnerable people to turn to Kettering’s housing department. One of the most noticeable impacts was the high rate of rapid tenancy breakdowns, which drained council resources and also was bad for customers. The council developed policies to help them sustain their tenancies, with one-on-one support for budgeting skills, accessing health care and wellbeing services and independent financial advice. In 2016-17, there were 104 customers supported and 96% were still in successful tenancies. Customers were supported to receive £6,519.23 in benefit back payments and the council received £5,571.14 in housing benefit underpayments.
Hostel for rough sleepers with complex needs
Southend-on-Sea had 44 rough sleepers, many with entrenched behaviours, mental health and substance abuse issues, which made it difficult to find anywhere to accommodate them. This kept them on the streets, where they were seen as detrimental to businesses and tourism. What if the problem was the unrealistic expectation for them to be stable and sober before being housed? The council secured a Homes and Communities Agency grant of £108,622 to convert a hostel into a dedicated housing for 10 rough sleepers with complex needs. Within weeks it was full and high street patrols have found reductions in street drinking and begging.
Live Margate involves buying properties for conversion from houses of multiple occupation into family homes. The Cliftonville suburb ranks as the nation’s fourth most-deprived community, dominated by overcrowded and poorly managed private rented homes, with 70% of tenants receiving housing benefit. Thanet set up a partnership to invest £23m to buy 300 properties, many long-derelict or unoccupied, and renovate them. The aim is to reach a tipping point at which private investment will be attracted. So far, anti-social behaviour is down by 27% down over five years and the proportion of empty homes has fallen from 20% to 6.8%.
Tower Hamlets LBC
Blackwall Reach regeneration project
This 8 ha site needed comprehensive regeneration, being in an under-utilised, low-density urban area including a council housing estate, industrial buildings and surface car parking. Joint work by the council, the Mayor of London and Swan Housing Association saw the number of homes there increase from 252 to 1,575. Because much of the land was publicly owned, Swan was able to cover the £300m development costs without having to pay for land upfront. The Blackwall Trust will be established, funded by an endowment and ground rents from Swan, to support local initiatives including education, training, personal development and community cohesion.
Tower Hamlets LBC
Tower Hamlets is among Britain’s most densely populated areas and has high demand for affordable homes. The council identified under-utilised sites suitable for new housing and community infrastructure such as Poplar Baths, a former swimming pool. It decided to create a housing and leisure centre, 100 new council homes at Randall House and Dame Colet Court and a youth centre.
To deliver this, Tower Hamlets chose a 35-year leaseback arrangement with developer Guildmore.
At the end of the lease period it will own the homes and leisure facilities. Some 180,000 users have visited Poplar Baths since opening in July 2016 and 9,700 have visited the Haileybury Youth Centre.
Supported living project
Worcestershire had an unsustainable use of residential care placements, particularly for people with learning disabilities, and significantly higher estimated levels of need than could be met through a model based on shared housing. The Supported Living Project was developed to reduce dependence on residential care and more expensive supported living services and give young adults a range of choices. It would also give more people choice over where and with whom they live. Worcestershire has moved 166 people into supported living, and 12 former care homes have deregistered and are now providing supported living. The programme has freed £5m of capital for other projects.
Stephen Baker, chief executive, Suffolk Coastal & Waveney DCs
Amanda Deeks, chief executive, South Gloucestershire Council
Ged Curran, chief executive, Merton LBC
Andrew Muter, outgoing chief executive, Newark & Sherwood DC