Pan-London Housing Reciprocal

Meeting: 
MQT on 2017-11-16
Session date: 
November 16, 2017
Reference: 
2017/4457
Question By: 
Tom Copley
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

As a voluntary collaboration between local authorities and housing associations, how will you as Mayor encourage all boroughs and housing providers to sign up and fully utilise the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal, and how will you sustain this provision in the long-term?

Answer

Answer for Pan-London Housing Reciprocal

Answer for Pan-London Housing Reciprocal

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I want every Londoner to have access to a good quality home that meets their needs and at a price they can afford.  My draft London Housing Strategy sets out how I intend to tackle the capital’s housing crisis.  It sets out how I will increase the supply of genuinely affordable housing and work to ensure that new homes are high quality, safe and meet the diverse needs of Londoners.  The impact of a housing shortage is felt by many vulnerable groups; unfortunately, this includes women who are fleeing domestic abuse.  The safety of this group of women is vital and helping them move to safety is something the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal has supported as a scheme through an innovative solution partnership approach and hard work.  It is a scheme that has made a real difference to the lives of people fleeing violence and it is an achievement for everyone who has worked on it.  As well as managing this very complex area our teams have worked hard to gain the support of 32 boroughs.  We are working to secure commitments from the two remaining boroughs, Merton and Richmond.  In addition, we have 32 housing providers on board.  The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has funded the Reciprocal since July 2016 and MOPAC is working closely with GLA Housing and other partners to commit to provide the service and continue to expand the list of housing associations that are signed up to the scheme.  Further work is required to ensure we attract greater numbers.  We have ensured that the work of the Reciprocal is not only focused on operational matters but also maintaining a strategic approach as to how we grow and sustain the scheme.  I will continue to support this excellent piece of work without losing sight of the perpetrators that create these situations.  The housing of vulnerable people and the tackling of perpetrators are key sections of my refreshed VWAG strategy.

 

 

Tom Copley AM:  Thank you very much for that answer, Mr Mayor, and I am pleased to hear work is being done to sign up the remaining two boroughs and indeed to get more housing associations signed up as well.  What assessment have you made of the increase in reporting of domestic offences and the implications this has for domestic abuse services and both crisis and long term accommodation for survivors?

 

 

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Firstly, can I again echo a point I made in answer to a previous question, I am not sure if we can simply attribute the increased number of reports to people having more confidence and knowing more about the service available.  It is good that people who are the victims of domestic abuse know about the service available and they are coming forward but there could be something else going on and that is why the Police and Crime Plan talks about detailed work, which I referred to in answer to a question from Assembly Member McCartney, that needs to be done in this area.  One of the things though that it leads to is the need for more resources.  This is why in answer to a previous question I said that we need more resources here because just think about some of the things at play here.  Housing associations, housing providers, coordination in relation to the various groups such as violence against women, girls, housing strategic groups.  Even if we pay the capital costs for housing what about the revenue costs for the support mechanisms required and you would know that boroughs have faced huge cuts over the last seven years and they are struggling.  At the very least we need to have increased investment in resources to provide the services that these increased victims of domestic abuse are suffering and need.

 

 

 

Tom Copley AM:  Indeed some of the uncertainties surrounding supported housing benefits has created some problems, I think, in terms of provision of --

 

 

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Some of their funding is only for one year and so it is very difficult to make plans.  If you were employed at a place where your contract was just for the one year rollover you would want to get a job that had more permanence and so it has a whole host of knock on impacts as well.

 

 

 

Tom Copley AM:  Your Housing Strategy actually says there is a shortage of over 320 refuge bed spaces in LondonWhat are you going to be doing to ensure that we get a higher number of bed spaces available particularly for groups like young people and those who have complex needs?

 

 

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  One of the things that we are doing is spending some of the £3.15 billion we got from the Government in relation to new beds, new places.  That is capital; the key challenge is revenue going forward.  We are lobbying, with other partners, the Government. Separately, we are talking to charities about how they can provide the revenue cost for the additional beds required.  These are the most vulnerable people in our city and I think we are judged as a society how civilised we are, how we treat the most vulnerable and that is why I am hoping the Government accedes to our lobbying and gives us the resources we need.

 

 

 

Tom Copley AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.