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Grassroots campaign funded to secure better housing deal for Londoners

Citizens UK campaign aims to promote genuinely affordable housing, tackle rogue landlords and involve residents in estate regeneration. Over £700,000 investment jointly funded with Trust for London Initiative comes one year on from Mayoral election.

One year on from the election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London, the community organising charity Citizens UK has announced a new strategy to tackle London’s housing crisis.

The campaign is being supported by an investment of over £700,000 over a four-year period until 2020. The funding for this is jointly coming from the local community membership of Citizens UK and the independent charity, Trust for London.

The initiative will focus on four key campaigns to improve housing for thousands of Londoners, aiming to increase the amount of genuinely affordable housing on the Olympic Park; involve residents in estate regeneration on Broadwater Farm; tackle rogue landlords in the private rented sector, and promoting affordable housing in the Old Oak Common regeneration scheme.

The initiative will help to ensure thousands of extra affordable homes are built and approximately 4,000 Londoners who are struggling to make ends meet will benefit through direct access to affordable housing or improved housing conditions. In addition, the campaigning targeting bad landlords who are providing poor quality rented accommodation in the capital will help improve conditions for hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

The initiative will build on and sustain momentum from the London Mayoral Campaign of last year, particularly Citizen UK’s Copper Box Accountability Assembly, which saw the two main Mayoral candidates, Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith make commitments on housing in front of 6,000 Londoners.

The Mayor made pledges on the London Living Rent, rogue landlords, affordable housing and right of return of estate tenants. This investment will strengthen the coalition that secured those pledges, and is an important element of Trust for London’s own efforts to improve housing for Londoners on low and middle incomes.

The Mayor’s Homes for Londoners plans set out his approach to improving the affordability, quality and quantity of housing in London. The plans aim to tackle some of the problems inherited from the administration of the previous Mayor, Boris Johnson such as, affordable housebuilding falling well below the levels needed, and the voluntary approach to improving standards for private tenants which attracted only 16,000 landlords against a target of 100,000.

This landmark initiative from Citizens UK and Trust for London will help ensure that citizens and communities across London have the capacity to campaign to help make these policies become reality in individual developments, in action against bad landlords, and in estate regeneration.

The initiative is set to act as a focal point for Citizens UK’s work around housing in London, mobilising thousands of members to tackle systemic problems in the capital’s housing market. The campaign will also focus on holding developers to account for the amount of affordable housing they provide and lobbying Local Authorities and National Government to improve housing for Londoners on low incomes.

The programme will develop the skills and networks of up to 1,600 campaigners over the four-year period, including hundreds of young people. People will be supported to engage with housing and planning issues in their area, and to challenge bad practice by developers, landlords and local authorities. The work will leave a lasting legacy in equipping people to shape their neighbourhoods into vibrant, mixed communities that work for all Londoners.

“London is facing an affordable housing crisis that our local community membership experiences on a daily basis. We are excited to be working with Trust for London to turn that anger and frustration into positive community action. We are committed to campaigning for more affordable housing in new developments, tackling rogue landlords and involving local residents in planning and regeneration. We look forward to working with the Mayor, Local Authorities and others to play our part in helping Londoners have the homes they need.”

Matthew Bolton, Deputy Director, Citizens UK

“We are excited about this new, grassroots housing campaign with Citizens UK, which will benefit thousands of low- and middle-income Londoners who are struggling to make ends meet. For too long the housing debate has been dominated by developers, politicians, policymakers and academics, while those directly affected by housing problems in the capital have been only superficially involved. We hope this flagship initiative will act as a catalyst to change that.”

Bharat Mehta CBE, Chief Executive, Trust for London