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TELCO Citizens celebrate 50% affordable housing news for the former London Olympic Site and seek living wage and community-led housing legacy

Community leaders from Newham Citizens, part of community alliance London Citizens, today thanked Mayor Sadiq Khan after he made a commitment to 50% affordable housing on future developments on the Olympic site and asked that the Mayor work with LLDC and the local community to ensure 100 Community Land Trust homes[1] and more social housing is part of the mix.

Newham Citizens is keen to bring the same energy and enthusiasm which brought Community Land Trust homes to the first ever location in London, St Clements, to the Eastwick and Sweetwater developments on the Olympic Site. Community Land Trust homes are priced according to local earnings, ensuring that people are no longer priced out of the area.

To combat many of Newham’s housing problems, campaigners are encouraging higher proportions of living rent, social housing and Community Land Trust homes in the housing mix. 60 Newham Citizens residents attended a tour with senior executives of LLDC (London Legacy Development Corporation) after holding a community meeting to hear concerns on housing and wages.

East London still has some of the highest levels of housing deprivation in the country and this has worsened since the Olympic Games were held, with many families forced to leave the borough because of the lack of housing and London Living Wage jobs. The hope from campaigners is that a Living Wage and genuinely affordable housing boost could help more struggling families with a lifeline of affordable homes and better paid jobs.

Living Wage and Housing legacy:

A Living Wage legacy on the site alongside affordable housing is an important goal for campaigners seeking to reduce the poverty affecting East London communities. Last year, London Stadium and West Ham FC announced they would be paying a real Living Wage to their staff on the back of a campaign. In April this year Newham Council committed to becoming a real Living Wage Employer, which if confirmed would mean thousands more jobs going London Living Wage.

London Citizens won a deal to make the Olympics which came to Stratford in 2012 the first ‘Living Wage Olympics’ with those who worked during the Olympics receiving a real Living Wage. Campaigners also want to ensure all employers, and those coming to the park pay a real Living Wage to their employees and subcontractors.

Paul Regan, a leader with Newham Citizens said: “We thank Mayor Sadiq Khan for this important step on housing and his work to ensure LLDC pays the London Living Wage. There are 24,000 people on the Housing waiting list in Newham and many families we know who’ve worked hard and done everything right still can’t afford to stay in Newham. While the Olympic Park’s developments can’t solve all of Newham’s challenges – this could be an important contribution.”

Dr Penny Bernstock, author of Olympic Housing a critical review of London 2012’s legacy and co-chair Newham Citizens Olympic Committee. “This is a positive move but now we need to ensure a genuinely affordable legacy on the Olympic site. Since 2005, the reality has been rather different to the one hoped for by local residents and we’d like to see more living rent, social housing and Community Land Trust properties. Of nearly 2,500 new homes currently being built only 674 will be affordable and could be as low as 10% of these available at social rent. This is an important opportunity to increase the overall proportion of genuinely affordable homes and I hope to see that reflected in the new developments housing mix.”

The TELCO Team from St Bonaventure’s school who have been campaigning on affordable housing said, “We listened to people across our school last year and we found that the lack of affordable housing is affecting our students mental health. We heard of families having to move as far away as Newcastle and some students commuting from Croydon to Forest Gate. The housing crisis affects so many in Newham and we need to do what we can to campaign for genuinely affordable housing.”

Find out more about our housing community organising work in London and nationwide

Posted on 25 Sep, 2018