In Brent we are intent on tackling the housing crisis head on. We recognise the role a good quality home plays in addressing health inequalities and improving life chances for people and we want to do our very best to improve these for the residents of Brent.
We set a target to build 1,000 new Council homes within five years and since that target was set we have completed 262 homes, where people who were either previously overcrowded in Council homes or living in temporary accommodation, are now enjoying good quality suitable, affordable and well managed homes. In addition, we have 579 homes currently onsite of which 400 will be completed this calendar year. We also have 332 with Planning and a further 1,336 in feasibility. We are very much on course to surpass our target.
Although this is a considerable effort, we recognise that it won’t be enough to deal with the scale of housing demand we face in Brent. As such we are building good relationships with Housing Associations to facilitate and support them in delivering genuinely affordable homes in Brent. This is already bearing fruit as the GLA have confirmed that we have had the highest supply of affordable housing starts in London for two years running.
With this concerted effort we have already reduced the number of households in temporary accommodation by 500 in just three years.
Building new council homes is a great endeavour but we must not do so at the expense of those already living in existing council homes. Brent has about 12,000 homes in Council ownership and management, of which about 4,000 are leasehold. To ensure no one is left behind we must continue to look after our current tenants and leaseholders, making sure that their homes are safe, secure and appropriately maintained.
We received feedback from STAR so we are clear on what’s important to our residents and we have drawn up an action plan to address these. Delivering them is a primary focus for us.
Members have signed off our asset management strategy, which sets out how we intend to address issues such as fire safety, building safer futures and climate change. These require a different approach to existing practice and require new skills and knowledge.
Brent is the current LGC UK Council of the year. Our efforts on building new council homes, community cohesion and resilience, were highlighted as some of the reasons we were selected. The judges said: “The council demonstrates how to convene place and communities – an antidote to today’s fractured society. It impressed on multiple fronts, showing leadership in the round.”
We want to keep this up and we believe that by working together we can help Build a Better Brent making a real difference for those who need us most.
Hakeem Osinaike | Operational Director of Housing