Sunday, September 23, 2012

Housing Matters Roadshow: The Albany, 26 Sept, 6.30-9pm

Housing Matters is the name Lewisham Council have given to their review into the borough's housing provision. This is in light of Government changes to the funding and control of council housing. Everyone in Crossfields should have received the Mayor's letter in which he briefly explains how this affects us and how they want our views. (You can download it here). The Mayor says:
We will be talking to you about two broad options for the running of council housing. The first is for the Council to keep ownership of council homes. They might be managed by Lewisham Homes, as they are now, or directly by the Council. The second is to transfer ownership of council homes, either to an existing social housing provider (such as a housing association) or to a new mutual organisation in which residents and tenants would have a high degree of control and influence.
The last time Lewisham was discussing what to do about housing provision, they offered council tenants the option of transferring to a housing association or remaining with Lewisham under the "Arms Length Management Organisation" (ALMO) Lewisham Homes. Crossfields chose Lewisham Homes. Even now, Lewisham Homes does not have complete control of the services it is required to provide, some of which remain in the council's control.

It's a complicated situation, and the options the Mayor talks about are actually considerably more complicated since there are options within options. For instance, Option 1 is for the Council to retain the ownership of its housing stock, but within that option (Option 1c), they might dissolve Lewisham Homes and bring all its functions back under direct management of the Council.

Hopefully, the options will be explained in layman's terms at the roadshow events to which all are invited:

Wednesday 26 September, 6.30-9pm
The Albany, Douglas Way SE8 4AG

There is also a roadshow event the evening before on Tuesday 25 September, 6.30-9pm in the Civic Suite at Lewisham Town Hall (see here). Someone from the council may also come to explain it all to the Crossfields TRA meeting on Thursday 27 September (7.30-9pm), or in October.

You can also download the background papers on the Council's website. Clicking on Housing challenges and opportunities will download "Future of Housing", dated January 2012. There are some interesting statistics in Section 7 and the options are laid out in Section 8. Clicking on Achieving Lewisham's housing objectives will download "Housing Matters", dated July 2012, where the options are discussed in more detail (in Section 9) and this reader lost the will to live.

Needless to say, rent increases for tenants (and, no doubt, service charges for leaseholders) are built into all options.

1 comment:

  1. Last time we voted in Brockley to stay under council control we were still transfered to PFI who have been as useful as an ashtray on a motor bike in relation to all housing matters our homes are badly maintained and housing officers aggressive with no-one to monitor the poor service we are being forced to accept.I would gladly go back to council control rather than the fat cat PFI option.