"Providing decent and safe homes is key, that is why the Council is investing an extra £1million"
December blog from Cabinet Member for Housing Services, Cllr Clayeon McKenzie:
The pandemic affected our ability to provide some services to the high standard expected of us, especially our repairs service. This is due to lockdown restrictions and the fact that our staff had less access to people's homes.
I want to apologise to all Council residents for this – providing decent and safe homes is key, that is why the Council is investing an extra £1million into the service over the coming months and recruiting more than 30 extra staff to work through the backlog as quickly as possible.
For those affected by the outages in the district heating systems recently, I also want to apologise. We recognise that given the cold weather and that there were two outages in the space of a few days that residents will be anxious. We want to assure you that engineers are reviewing the whole system, they have fixed the issue and are seeing what we can do to improve the integrity of the network.
We are now working together as an organisation to build back better, making sure residents are at the heart of our innovations to ensure we can deliver the best service possible.
As well as the pandemic there also remains significant financial challenges: since 2016, Housing Services has lost millions of pounds in income because of Central Government imposed cuts and rules. We’ve made huge savings and next year, we’re proposing to raise rents by around £4 a week. This will help, but we need to be as smart as ever to ensure our service continues at the level you deserve.
As we continue to move forward after the initial coronavirus pandemic, as a society we can see how important Council housing is - giving people a safe, stable and genuinely affordable home. Despite the challenges Hackney has gone through recently and even with uncertain times ahead – Council housing will be fundamental to helping us re-build better.