We've worked with the Mayor of London to establish the London Housing Panel which, since summer 2019, has brought together voluntary and community organisations with a particular interest in housing in London.
About the Panel
The London Housing Panel was set up through a partnership between the Mayor of London and Trust for London to provide the voluntary and community sector with a structured way of engaging with the Greater London Authority (GLA) in relation to housing policy, and vice versa.
The Mayor wants to make sure his housing policies are developed with the involvement of London's diverse communities. Both the GLA and Trust for London are providing funding and in-kind support to help make the panel work. The Panel began meeting in June 2019 and is currently funded until July 2021.
In its first year, the Panel worked on developing a set of principles and priorities for what it hopes to achieve through closer working with Mayor and GLA officers. These were published in March 2020 and presented to the Homes for Londoners Board in June.
During the first six months of living with COVID-19, the Panel published a statement on the crisis, provided advice to the Deputy Mayor’s Housing Delivery Taskforce and submitted a response to the London Recovery Board.
The Panel's objectives are:
- To ensure that the Mayor’s policies on housing reflect the needs of those Londoners who have been disadvantaged and/or are living vulnerably.
- To add weight to the Mayor’s work when it fits with the values and purpose of our work and the needs of our communities.
- To support and challenge the Mayor in thinking differently about the housing solutions and options that will most benefit those who are living in poverty.
- Where relevant, to make connections between housing and other related issues such as welfare reform, health and wellbeing, and the environment.
The Panel has committed to work to three guiding principles:
There is an urgent need to build more social housing in London to tackle its housing crisis and we will always push for prioritising the building of and increasing the amount of social rented housing over other forms of tenure.
By understanding the needs and aspirations of all Londoners, including those who are living most vulnerably, we can ensure house building creates better longer-term outcomes for Londoners.
In addition to the building of new, stable homes at social rent, we want more action taken now to address homelessness, particularly statutory homelessness.
Priorities for the Mayor
In April 2020, the Panel put their priorities to the Mayor, calling for commitment against three actions:
- Massively increase social housing supply
- Support all Londoners to be heard and thrive
- Take action on temporary accommodation
In June 2020, the Mayor of London provided a formal written response to the Panel’s priorities. This can be read in full in a letter to the Chair of the London Housing Panel.
Who is on the Panel?
“The 15 organisations represented on this panel work to empower communities and individuals who have faced unacceptable housing problems which include poor conditions, discrimination and unaffordable rent. All Londoners should benefit from more housing stability, despite their income or their circumstances.”
Panel members are London-based organisations, providing services, representation or carrying out advocacy work in relation to housing in London. They bring a range of perspectives, including social tenants, private renters, homelessness and equalities groups.
Organisations are expected to coordinate with, consult and provide feedback to other groups within their networks and sector. Members are also encouraged to bring the voices and experiences of those directly affected by the issues into the discussion.
Professor Loretta Lees
From September 2020
In September 2020, Professor Loretta Lees was appointed as the new Chair, bringing many years’ experience as scholar, researcher and campaigner to the role. She is committed to the future of the city, “‘especially to housing its inhabitants in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable way.”’
Raji Hunjan: Programme Director, Oak Foundation
For the first year of the Panel, Raji brought her extensive experience of the voluntary sector and a passion for tackling poverty and inequality to her role as Chair. Her huge contribution to the development of the Panel helped it establish voice and influence.
Panel members consist of:
- Action on Empty Homes
- Camden Community Law Centre
- The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields
- Generation Rent
- Homeless Link
- Just for Kids Law / Children's Rights Alliance for England
- Leasehold Knowledge Partnership
- London Federation of Housing Co-operatives
- London Gypsies and Travellers
- London Tenants Federation
- New Horizon Youth Centre
- Solace Women's Aid
- Tonic Housing Association
The Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development attends some Panel meetings by invitation of the Panel.
Community level solutions to housing needs
The Panel has collated several case studies from members’ experiences recognising some of the ways in which local people, community groups and voluntary organisations are helping to meet the housing needs of Londoners and take forward practical workable solutions to local housing problems.
These help to inform the Panel’s ongoing work with the GLA about what’s needed to support more community involvement in housing development, and to inspire others to get involved:
- Co-ops and housing support in the Capital -
London Federation of Housing Co-operatives
- Seeking alternatives to evictions and injunctions -
London Gypsies and Travellers
- Tenants Federations supporting communities -
London Tenants Federation
- Meeting the housing needs of the older LGBT community -
- Supporting children and young people and campaigning for their rights -
Just for Kids Law
- Campaigning on vacant homes -
Action on Empty Homes
Latest meeting minutes:
Past minutes and agendas for meetings and any relevant additional information documents can be found here.