In June 2019, I was selected to Chair the London Housing Panel, which was set up to influence the Mayor and the GLA’s housing strategy and housing plan for Londoners. The panel is made up of a diverse group of voluntary and community sector organisations, and individuals, who bring a variety of perspectives which come from grassroots experiences.
We have now met formally twice and minutes of all our meetings are publicly available. Our approach is to be iterative and responsive to new issues and opportunities as they arise, but underpinning all our work are three guiding principles:
Following our meetings, I have continued conversations with the GLA, Deputy Mayor and individual councils to test out ideas and ways in which we can move forward with our concerns and policy asks. I have also attended my first Homes for Londoners Board Meeting, chaired by Sadiq Khan and fed in my views about why the voices of the people with the most housing need should be heard in house planning and building.
The Panel has agreed four themes to guide our work plan:
- Building more social homes for Londoners; scrutinising current plans and supporting future ambitious growth plans for genuinely affordable homes
- Voices of Londoners in new housing plans; building strategies for the voices of people to be heard in all aspects of the process from planning to allocation of new social homes
- Taking action now I: tackling London’s empty homes; a better understanding of London’s problems with empty houses and how these could be better utilised as genuinely affordable home
- Taking action now II: supporting Londoners experiencing homelessness; challenging the conditions and distance of temporary accommodation
Now is the time to talk to as many people as we can and explore numerous options under each of these themes. Our next meeting in November will be our chance to analyse all the possibilities and agree ways of moving forward.
There is something genuinely exciting and important about bringing together such a diverse group of people, many of whom this is the first time we have been offered the space to talk about London’s Housing Crisis through the lens of people who are suffering most. Each of us represented on the Panel recognise the opportunity we have been given and look forward to sharing more with you about how our work progresses.