Deputy Mayor's response to media reports about Shuttleworth Hotel
There have been a couple of media reports about Shuttleworth Hotel, temporary accommodation used by Hackney Council and several other local authorities, following the death of a resident. Cllr Philip Glanville, Deputy Mayor of Hackney, responds:
"The sad death at Shuttleworth Hotel is troubling, and alongside the concerns expressed by some residents, serves to highlight the challenges faced by those in housing need and the difficulties we face in responding to the housing crisis.
"The Council inspected the hostel in May where it was rated, against London guidelines, as satisfactory. Whilst Mr Coughlin was not placed in the hostel by Hackney, we also undertook another inspection yesterday (Wednesday) in light of what happened to see what else we can do and we will be working with other councils, and local police, to find out what can be improved. I will be writing to all residents placed in the hostel by Hackney to let them know how to contact me or the council for support.
"London and Hackney are facing unprecedented demand for housing, as well as for advice and support. There are now some 11,500 people on our housing waiting list and more than 2,500 households in temporary accommodation.
"Government policies, like the right to buy, cuts to genuinely affordable housing delivery and the failure to control rising private rents have combined to create an unprecedentedly hostile time for councils trying to provide new homes. There is also the ongoing impact of benefit cuts, particularly the freeze in support for housing costs in an era of rising rents.
This severely affects the ability of low and middle income families to keep up with their rent or source viable 'affordable' accommodation. A situation that will get even worse as the Housing and Planning Act is implemented.
"Despite the immense challenges, the Council will do all it can to support those in housing need. Indeed, we have expanded our temporary accommodation to help those most in need, purchasing or refurbishing three hostels recently adding 86 new places. We are also making better use of empty homes earmarked for regeneration (as we seek to replace poor quality buildings with new homes), bringing them into use as temporary accommodation.
"We continue to make strenuous efforts to address homelessness - including opening London's first one-stop-shop for single homeless people at the Greenhouse Hub - and have been successful in preventing homelessness in a significant number of cases by working with tenants before they lose their home.
"Hackney is one of the biggest council home-builders in the country, filling the gap left by the market and Government, building more than 3,700 new homes for social rent, shared ownership and private sale in the coming years. In addition, I have been campaigning for a better private rental sector, including the stabilisation of rents and longer tenancies.
"There are huge hurdles to overcome but we are determined to do all we can to support those in housing need, in the face of what can seem like insurmountable challenges".