A LIBERAL VOICE FOR A LIBERAL CITY
TACKLING HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
We have a housing crisis in our city. In January 2019, the average price of renting a one-bed flat hit £1,000 per month, and the average 3-bed home costs 16 times the average household annual income. Despite repeated promises from the council to set up a 365-day homelessness shelter, rough sleepers are still forced to live and die on our streets.
Many changes to housing and homelessness policies are needed at national government level. However, within the powers the council does have, it should be taking more action, and where powers fall short there should be persistent, active lobbying of the Westminster government by Brighton and Hove City Council.
Solving this crisis takes a change of thinking and direct action. We would:
- Provide a permanent night shelter for homeless people. Until this is in place, the police should not move on homeless people overnight and confiscate their tents, as they can now do under the council's PSPO scheme.
- Provide homeless people with spare addresses, using the same model as Lewisham council if their trial proves successful.
- Lobby the government for the power to charge 200% council tax on empty homes and second homes, then implement this across Brighton & Hove, raising over £1 million a year.
- Enforce at least 40% affordable housing or 30% social housing in every new development, with the affordable/social homes equally distributed between the blocks in multi-block developments. If there are no housing associations interested in running the social homes, we would bring these services back in-house and have the council run them directly.
- Build 1,500 new homes on part of the council-owned land currently occupied by Hollingbury Golf Course, subject to thorough public consultation. As a first step, you can give us your views on the proposal using this online survey.
- Investigate a Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme and run one if practicable.
- Ring-fence a proportion of the community benefit contributions from every private development to be put towards social housing, temporary accommodation or the permanent homeless shelter.