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Opinion: Mayor of Hackney demands freedom for councils to build new homes to tackle soaring temporary accommodation bill

PUBLISHED: 04:30 19 January 2017 | UPDATED: 17:20 08 February 2017

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville. Picture: Hackney Council/Gary Manhine

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville. Picture: Hackney Council/Gary Manhine

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Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville says the council is doing all it can to address the homeless crisis.

The council has increased its supply of temporary accommodation by 1,700 units over the last six years, including buying three hostels and expanding premises it already works with.

It also plans to build 3,000 new affordable homes and is bringing as many empty council properties as possible back into use as temporary housing.

But this will not meet growing demand.

Cllr Glanville says hostels were only ever meant as a “sticking plaster” and not a permanent solution to the growing housing crisis.

“Hostels weren’t designed for what is turning into medium-term accommodation,” he said.

“It should have been short-term use. But even bringing in regulations saying people should spend no longer than six months in temporary accommodation won’t help, because where will these people go?

“The homes don’t exist and that’s the tricky thing. We need a long-term housing solution. There is no way of cutting the existing figures by tinkering at the edges.”

He believes the government should allow councils to build new affordable homes.

“Housing associations have never built at the same rate that councils did and the private sector never matched that supply either,” he said.

“Councils are still part of that solution and we have to be given the freedom to build. We’ve got the ambition and the experience to do that.”

This opinion piece is part of our Hidden Homeless campaign to shine a light on the issue of temporary accommodation in Hackney. Read more news, stats and opinion at our Hidden Homeless microsite – and find out how you can tell us your story or add your name to our manifesto.

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