Housing and homelessness are a national concern for communities across the UK and a driver of poverty and inequality. We are actively working to tackle poor housing and increase affordable housing in communities up and down the country.
National priority areas include
- Affordable housing. The UK doesn’t have enough genuinely affordable homes. We are working to ensure more affordable homes are built, particularly on sites like the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Olympic Park in London.
- Community-led housing. We have set up the first Urban Community Land Trust (CLT) in the UK at St Clements Hospital in East London. CLTs put communities at the heart of local developments and ensure that the homes built are genuinely and permanently affordable. In London we have five sites we are actively working on.
- Emergency and temporary accommodation. Citizens UK Birmingham are putting together a training program for communities to get advice at the right time to prevent people needing emergency accommodation. In London we are working with the Mayor to ensure that temporary accommodation remains temporary, and challenging them to improve the quality of such accommodation.
Citizens UK Summit: Building back together
Citizens UK is working towards a national summit with Rt Hon Robert Jenrick on March 3rd 5-6.30pm, 2021. The Citizens UK Housing Summit is an opportunity to reflect on where we are as a country when it comes to housing and how we might work with local and national government in their efforts to build back better. We are working across Chapters and partnering with Create Streets to develop a series of events culminating in an assembly with senior Government officials and decision makers.
There is a particular focus in London Citizens on housing – where there is a partnership with Trust for London on a Strategic Housing initiative. This work focuses on:
- The People’s Legacy. A campaign to secure a genuinely affordable Olympic housing legacy for the people of East London. We want to increase the percentage of affordable housing on each site to at least 50%.
- Building a powerful tenants-led campaign that is tackling bad and criminal landlords in the private rented sector across the capital.
- Ensure London’s biggest development this decade – the Old Oak and Park Royal Development – delivers homes that Londoners on low incomes can afford.
London Citizens has made incredible progress on these campaigns. Securing numerous local wins as well as some high-profile strategic victories in the capital:
- A commitment from the London Mayor to ensure that 50% of the housing on the Olympic Park and on the Old Oak Common is genuinely affordable.
- Five local authorities in London have committed to selective landlord licensing schemes. Selective licensing allows local authorities to penalise rogue landlords.
- We have seen an increase in affordable homes being built under the current Mayor due to his implementation of London Citizens’ Good Development Standard. This was a commitment to ensure 35% of homes built on private land are affordable and 50% of homes built on public land are affordable.
- We have also campaigned for our partner organisation London CLT to be given the land and money from the Greater London Authority to build CLT homes in South, East and West London. CLT homes are genuinely and permanently affordable homes to buy.
London is currently working on a new manifesto for housing as we head to the 2021 Mayoral elections.
Leaders working on the National Summit include:
John Clifton (TELCO)
Penny Bernstock (West London Citizens)
Jackie Ashmenall (West London Citizens)
Clare Moses (South London Citizens)
Derren Cresswell (Citizens UK Birmingham)
Salma Ravat (Leicester & Leicestershire Citizens)
Arthur Tsang (Citizens UK Birmingham)
Rebecca Stockman (South London Citizens)
Elizabeth Coleman (Citizens UK Birmingham)
Denis Tully (Nottingham Citizens)
Graham Bowpitt (Tyne & Wear Citizens)
Revd Caz Hague (Citizens UK Birmingham)
Revd Alison Richards (Citizens UK Birmingham)
Elizabeth Coleman (Citizens UK Birmingham)
Rehana Begum (Citizens UK Birmingham)
Shermara Flecther (TELCO)
Ian Rutherforrd (Greater Manchester Citizens)
A brief history of the campaign
Our work on housing began with an action outside City Hall in London in 2006 that involved tents and a demand for a meeting with the-then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
The meeting led to a commitment for the UK’s first urban CLT. In 2016 in front of 7,000 Londoners, Sadiq Khan agreed to work with us on affordable housing, temporary accommodation and more. This gave birth to an important partnership with Trust for London, aimed at tackling the housing crisis in the capital.
London Citizens campaigned for the first urban CLT as part of getting a fair deal from the Olympic Legacy. The decision in 2007 to formally constitute as a CLT came out of hundreds of conversations where people talked about the pain of seeing friends and family having to leave the area they called home.
CLTs are a community-led solution to the housing crisis, where ordinary people develop and manage homes. The homes remain under community ownership, ensuring they remain genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but forever.
In 2018, 23 permanently and genuinely affordable homes priced according to local wages at St Clements in East London were sold to Londoners on median incomes. Now campaign teams across London are working on identifying sites that can be used to build CLT homes. To help with this work we set up a new organisation, London Community Land Trust.
For more information about the London Community Land Trust.