Boroughs formally join Capital Letters collaborative programme

The corner of a black building with no windows

Boroughs formally join Capital Letters collaborative programme

14th March 2019

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. 

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£38 million to boost accommodation for London’s homeless

London sky line with homes closer to the image and high rise buildings in the foreground

£38 million to boost accommodation for London's homeless

31st December 2018

Thousands of extra homes will be made available for vulnerable Londoners at risk of becoming homeless, Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has announced today (31 December 2018). 

Through an innovative new scheme – the first of its kind – London boroughs join forces to provide safe accommodation for families on the edge of homelessness, backed by almost £38 million of funding from the government’s £1.2 billion overall investment in tackling homelessness. 

The additional homes will help provide a long-term, stable solution for vulnerable families struggling to find secure accommodation, providing a safety net for those who may otherwise feel they have nowhere else to go. 

Currently, all London boroughs are responsible for providing accommodation for those at risk of homelessness both inside and outside their area. However, this can often lead to areas competing for the best accommodation – driving up prices and slowing down the provision of quality housing for the most vulnerable. 

The new scheme will stop this from happening by encouraging London boroughs to work together in boosting accommodation to tackle homelessness across the capital. 

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: 

Everyone deserves a safe and secure home. I’ve seen for myself how hard each of the London boroughs works to provide those that are homeless with the support they need and a roof over their heads. 

This radical new way of working and unprecedented collaboration between the boroughs and government will make a real difference – providing more accommodation for the vulnerable and helping them to get back on their feet and away from homelessness for good. 

Councillor Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning, said: 

With so many homeless households and so little accommodation available, London faces the country’s most serious homelessness challenge. 

Capital Letters is a crucial opportunity to do things differently – and we are extremely pleased to have the government’s support for this innovative work. 

Through collaboration, boroughs will collectively strengthen our market position and secure much better housing options for homeless Londoners. 

To date, 11 London boroughs have signed up to the scheme, with more expected to come on board in the future. Over the next three years, the scheme is expected to help over 35,000 households within Greater London out of homelessness. 

London Councils are now working to establish the not-for-profit company who will deliver the Capital Letters programme. They will be tasked with providing this vital service on behalf of the boroughs and will undertake the management of the homes which are provided. 

The joined-up approach will also give those at risk of homelessness the chance to stay closer to where they currently live, meaning that disruption to their employment or education can be reduced during what is already a difficult time. 

Capital Letters is being supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as part of the government’s commitment to addressing homelessness and encouraging collaborative solutions to tackle the issue. 

Further information 

Government funding of £37.8 million has been allocated over the next 3 years to 2022 to support this programme. 

A group of 11 boroughs will join Capital Letters initially, with others expected to become members at a later stage. 

These boroughs are: 

  • Tower Hamlets 
  • Bexley 
  • Haringey 
  • Waltham Forest 
  • Brent 
  • Ealing 
  • Barking and Dagenham 
  • Croydon 
  • Lewisham 
  • Redbridge 
  • Southwark 

Capital Letters has a social mission. All members of the Capital Letters team are part of an efficient, effective, and dynamic service helping homeless Londoners. Through working in partnership, Capital Letters is at the forefront of tackling London’s homelessness crisis. 

London Councils represents London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all of its member authorities regardless of political persuasion. Read more about London Councils

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