Monday, 31 December 2007

Trying to ease overcrowding in Tower Hamlets

It’s clearly welcome news that the government plans to practically tackle overcrowding in Tower Hamlets.

Almost half the population of Tower Hamlets live in Council accommodation. According to a recent Public Health Report, Tower Hamlets, with a population of about 220 400, has the most overcrowded council accommodation in London.

A large number of properties have been declared unfit, with 78% of council properties and 27.7% of private properties being declared “non-decent”.

The Dept of Housing has now announced an Overcrowding Action Plan aimed at increasing the number of larger homes in Tower Hamlets and five other boroughs.

The plan has £15million funding over the next three years. If my maths is right, each of the boroughs involved may receive about £2.5m over 3 years – or about £830 000 per year to solve the housing dilema.

In an area where house prices alone are in the range of £270 000, I’m not so sure that this Action Plan will do much for the overcrowded families.

For its part, Tower Hamlet’s Council says last year it re-housed 32 overcrowded tenants to alternative suitable accommodation. This year it has re-housed 75 under-occupying families, to free up more homes for those most in need.

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