New Mayoral appointments put housing at the heart of Hackney’s agenda

Two advisors dedicated to tackling the growing challenge of finding an affordable place to live given London’s chronic housing crisis have today been appointed by the new Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville.

Building on Hackney Council’s work to campaign for a more affordable and better regulated private rented sector, as well as seeking to bring better support for homeless families, were both issues at the heart of the Mayor’s manifesto.

The new positions recognise the housing problems faced by Hackney’s residents and Mayor Glanville’s commitment to putting pressure on the government to take action, alongside practical steps the council can take to ease these pressures.

The appointments are:

  • Cllr Sem Moema as Mayoral Advisor for Private Renting and Housing Affordability
  • Cllr Rebecca Rennison as Mayoral Advisor for Advice Services and Preventing Homelessness

Cllr Moema was elected to represent Hackney Downs ward in May 2016, having previously served as a councillor from 2006-10. She currently works for a large housing association, and before that worked in the youth sector and in international development.

Cllr Rennison has represented Kings Park ward since 2014 and has worked for a number of disability and health charities. Her new role will focus on the challenges faced by those rough sleeping or facing homelessness, including refugees and domestic violence survivors.

The Mayor announced last week that Hackney will be the first borough in London to see 500 homes built at Sadiq Khan’s London Living Rent, which could save the average family renting privately in the borough £400 per month. More than 32,000 households rent privately in Hackney, a figure that has doubled in ten years.

We’re building more homes to rent and buy than anywhere else in London, but we know that private renters and those in most need of a place to live face huge challenges as the capital’s housing crisis continues to grow.

Whether you’re struggling to save for a mortgage deposit in the face of spiralling house prices, paying exorbitant fees to letting agents or rogue landlords, or simply trying to find a bed for the night, our city must do more to support you.

 For Hackney to be a place that works for everyone, we must make sure people can afford to rent and buy homes here and take advantage of the fantastic opportunities our borough offers.

I’m delighted to welcome Sem and Rebecca on board to put that challenge at the heart of the Council’s agenda. Together we’ll take practical steps and continue the fight against damaging government reforms which will exacerbate the problem.
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

The Council’s estate regeneration programme – the largest in the UK – will bring nearly 3,000 new homes, with the majority for social rent and shared ownership to help ease record demand.

In July, the Council handed in a petition backed by hundreds of residents to the new Minister for Housing and Planning, Gavin Barwell, calling for ten simple steps the Government should take protect private renters – including longer tenancies, a register of rogue landlords and transparent letting fees.

Research from Shelter shows that more than a third of privately-let properties don’t meet the Decent Homes standard, while rents in the capital have risen by 19% since 2011 – causing one in three private renters in London to fall into debt just to meet monthly housing costs. In Hackney, soaring rents mean a tenant would need to earn £51,000 a year just to afford the average one-bedroom flat.