London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan wants 10,000 private homes in the capital to be brought into the social rental sector within 10 years.
His new Council Homes Acquisition Programme (CHAP) will give councils access to funds to purchase homes from the private market.
Khan claims over 170,000 Londoners are currently living in insecure temporary accommodation, including more than 83,000 children, with many families stuck in unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation.
This accounts for one in 23 children in the capital.
All London boroughs will be able to bid for funding from the new programme.
All homes funded through CHAP must comply with the Decent Homes Standard and meet strict building safety standards.
Homes will also need to be within boroughs’ boundaries to ensure residents can stay rooted in their local communities.
Local authorities will be able to purchase a wide range of homes from the private market, including former council homes lost to Right to Buy, which Khan believes over the past four decades has driven down London’s overall number of council homes.
CHAP follows Khan’s Right to Buy-back scheme which saw over 1,200 homes acquired by councils.
He says: “I’ve put council housing at the heart of my plan to boost homebuilding in the capital, and I’m proud that we’re now building more council homes in London than at any time since the 1970s – and more than the rest of the country combined.
“My new Council Homes Acquisition Programme will allow boroughs to move at pace to increase the number of council homes in our city, offering a lifeline for thousands of Londoners who are facing high housing costs, as the first part of my ambitious goal for councils to buy 10,000 homes over the next decade.
“I will continue to take decisive steps to address the social housing crisis, stemming the tide of loss and replenishing London’s council house stock. Bringing these homes into public ownership is a key part of my plan to build a better London for everyone – a city that is greener, fairer and more prosperous for all.”
A statement from Khan’s office, launching the CHAP initiative, says that under his leadership “London has entered a golden era of council housebuilding.”
Khan claims since 2018 some 23,000 council homes have been built – or are being built – with the help of his funding.
He says London has completed more homes of all types in recent years than at any time since the 1930s and delivered higher council homebuilding than at any time since the 1970s – more than the rest of the country combined.
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