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What does the housing crisis mean for Tower Hamlets?
We make the third largest contribution to the UK economy of any London borough but we’ve also got the third highest number of people on our housing register.
The borough is home to almost 17,000 businesses and 278,000 jobs but the average cost of renting a flat here is now more than the average household income.
Our population is expected to grow by 50,000 in the next ten years. That’s less time than it would take for a family joining the housing register today to bid successfully for a four bedroom home.
There are more than 19,000 households on the housing register in need of an affordable home and over 2,000 households living in temporary accommodation. But each year, only 1,800 homes become available to let to applicants on the housing register.
More new homes were built in Tower Hamlets in 2019 than almost anywhere else in the UK, but with the average house price now 22 times the average salary, our residents can’t afford to buy them.
What are we doing to deliver more homes and infrastructure?
We’re delivering 2,000 new council homes by 2022. These genuinely affordable homes will include properties big enough for families. One in ten will be wheelchair accessible.
But we can’t tackle this crisis alone.
That’s why we’re also working with our housing association partners to help them build even more affordable homes for our residents.
We’re making it clear to private developers that when they build in Tower Hamlets, between 35% and 50% of the new homes in each development should be genuinely affordable.
We also make it a condition that if they want to build here, they need to pay for GP surgeries, roads and other vital infrastructure to support existing residents and those making a new home here.
What do we mean by genuinely affordable homes?
Rents are increasingly unaffordable for our residents, rising faster than wages.
We’ve set a target that half of all new affordable homes in Tower Hamlets should be let at social rents, equivalent to an old council rent. The other half should be let at Tower Hamlets Living Rents, which is 33% of the borough’s average household income.
Where will these homes be built?
At just eight square miles, space to build in Tower Hamlets is in short supply. We’re making the most of land that we already own, including buildings no longer used as they once were.
We’re also identifying ‘infill’ sites on existing estates. When we build on those sites, we make sure that 25% of the homes are prioritised for those already living on the estate.
We‘re buying back former council homes to use as temporary accommodation.
We won’t reach 2,000 homes with just the big developments, smaller projects are vital too.