As house prices and rents in Wandsworth continue to soar and the need for social housing becomes more desperate, there is concern that Wandsworth Borough is hurtling towards a housing crisis.
Sadiq Khan MP said: “I am seeing more people than ever in my advice surgeries who are worried about the cost of rent, the condition of their rented property and benefit cuts. I am so concerned by this, and the impact of changes to the welfare system, that I invited a number of key stakeholders to Parliament for a housing summit, to discuss how these problems can best be addressed.”
Attendees on Monday 29th April included CEOs and leading members of housing associations in Wandsworth, including Viridian, Wandle and L & Q housing, Director of Housing at Wandsworth Council, Roy Evans and colleagues, Councillors and representatives of local and national support agencies such as Shelter.
The meeting included presentations from the National Housing Federation, and the South West London Law Centre. There was a lively and constructive discussion regarding how the Council and housing associations were currently helping those tenants affected by the changes to welfare, and how all stakeholders could work together to address these problems going forward. This included the importance of early intervention in cases where tenants were likely to fall into financial difficulties as a result of changes to welfare reform, providing financial incentives to those who want to move to a smaller property and making home exchange schemes more flexible.
Following the Housing Summit, Sadiq has pledged to work closely with housing providers and the Council to continue to campaign for better housing for the people of Tooting.
Sadiq Khan MP said,
“I know from talking to people on the doorstep, on the street and in my advice surgeries that issues around housing are a real worry for many of my constituents and with welfare cuts the problem is only getting worse. I called for this Summit because something needs to be done.
“This is the first time key housing stakeholders have been in Parliament to discuss the problems facing many of my constituents. Despite the difficult climate in which housing providers and my constituents find themselves, our discussions were positive and resulted in a number of practical solutions. Following on from the meeting, I will be working hard to ensure that the Council and housing providers work together to deliver better housing for the people of Tooting.”
Lizzie Clifford, National Housing Federation said:
“The welfare reforms will undoubtedly have very significant impacts on many low-income Tooting residents, and housing associations are working hard to help tenants prepare for the challenges ahead.
“It’s really encouraging that meetings like this are taking place, bringing together a range of local partners to find creative ways to support Londoners through the changes.”