Anne Meadows: Labour is fighting the housing crisis

Cllr Anne Meadows, chairman of the council's housing and new homes committee
Cllr Anne Meadows, chairman of the council's housing and new homes committee

I have to deal with many issues and pressures due to the local housing crisis, so as chair of the housing and new homes committee there can be some frustrations.

However despite this we can listen to residents and can make significant progress.

We are delivering many new council homes, with 45 extra care flats at Brooke Mead and 57 new flats at Kite Place, some with purpose built wheelchair accessibility. Hobby Place will open soon as well; another 29 flats for our residents on the housing register. New tenants in these schemes have told me really moving stories about what this new housing means to them. As well as building new homes, and with welfare reforms rolling forward, we are also preventing more families and households from becoming homeless in the first place, and this is a really important strand of the work we do, as residents quite rightly look to us for help.

So what keeps me motivated every day is that as a Labour council we can and do make a difference with our policies and our innovative way of working to help those who need it most. We have a new policy which enables us to purchase properties that were lost under the right to buy. We consider that every home gained is very precious to those in housing need. We recognise that residents want us to directly own and provide more temporary accommodation in the city. We have already converted two of our own premises to provide council-run temporary accommodation units, and for the first time we have agreed to purchase a property to add a third council-run premises for temporary accommodation.

Residents have got more concerned about HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) in some areas of the city, as family homes are lost, so we have worked in a joined-up way across departments to ensure landlords converting homes to HMOs without planning consent will be held to account and enforcement is robustly applied.

Although it can be hard work aspiring to better homes for residents in such difficult circumstances, your Labour council will keep battling on against the housing crisis – one vital home at a time.

Anne Meadows is the Labour chair of the housing and new homes committee on Brighton & Hove City Council.