London boroughs have reached a major milestone in establishing a collaborative new approach to supporting homeless households.
13 boroughs have formally become founding members of Capital Letters, a not-for-profit company that will procure accommodation for homeless Londoners and those at risk of homelessness.
Capital Letters, which is collectively owned by the boroughs and supported by £38 million of grant funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, aims to improve the availability of housing options by reducing competition between councils.
This collaborative approach will enable boroughs to access more accommodation across London and will provide a framework for placing households as close as possible to their home borough.
The establishment of Capital Letters has been coordinated by the London Housing Directors’ Group and London Councils. The scheme aims to start procuring properties by June 2019 and it is expected that other boroughs will become members in future.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning, said:
“Capital Letters is an innovative new approach to addressing London’s homelessness crisis.
“Through working together, boroughs will strengthen our market position and secure better housing options for homeless Londoners. London has the highest levels of homelessness in the country and boroughs are determined to improve outcomes for homeless Londoners.”
At the inaugural meeting of Capital Letters, Cllr Stephanie Cryan (Southwark) was elected to chair the Capital Letters Boroughs’ Representative Body. Cllr Sirajul Islam (Tower Hamlets) and Cllr Alex Sawyer (Bexley) were appointed as vice chairs.
Cllr Stephanie Cryan, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Modernisation at Southwark Council, said:
“Capital Letters is an exciting project and shows boroughs’ commitment to finding new solutions to London’s homelessness challenge. I look forward to seeing Capital Letters progress over the coming months and start delivering the benefits boroughs are so keen to achieve.”
The Boroughs’ Representative Body will be responsible for formulating the strategy and business plan of Capital Letters, and is made up of political representatives from each of the member boroughs.
Mark Baigent, interim Director of Housing and Regeneration at Tower Hamlets, was appointed chair of the Capital Letters Board of Directors. The Board of Directors holds responsibility for the operational delivery of strategic objectives, set by the Boroughs’ Representative Body.
Notes to Editors:
The 13 boroughs who became founding members of Capital Letters are:
• Tower Hamlets
• Waltham Forest
• Barking & Dagenham
• Hammersmith & Fulham