Have your say on housing need in the St Albans district
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An open meeting to discuss the problem of housing need in St Albans and nationally is being held in the city next Tuesday, January 12.
Entitled Housing - What Next? it is aimed both at those working in the sector and members of the public who would like to learn more or make their views known.
The meeting at 7.30pm at the United Reformed Church in Beaconsfield Road has been welcomed by church, council and national housing representatives.
Associate priest at St Peter’s Church , St Albans, Jos Perris, said that while the church did not support any political party, it took a keen interest in homelessness and actively supported the city’s hostel for the homeless, Open Door, both financially and through volunteering.
District councillor Iain Grant commented: “Homelessness in St Albans is rising. Homeless applications in the city have risen from 119 in 2014 (April to November) to 136 in the same period in 2015 – an increase of 14 per cent. There are also currently 125 families in temporary accommodation, which includes bed and breakfast accommodation.”
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And Andrew Dixon, policy officer of the national Federation of Master Builders who is speaking at the meeting, added: “There is no doubt that a long running under-supply of new homes is now creating a crisis of affordability which is impacting on people across the social and economic spectrum.
“One of the ways in which we can address this is to break down some of the barriers to small scale developments of the type delivered by smaller locally-based house builders.”
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The meeting will be chaired by Kerry Pollard, who is on the board of several housing associations and a former chief executive of another, as well as being chair of the National Labour Housing Group.
Kerry said: “The current problem is all-encompassing, with young people unable to afford deposits, astronomical private rents and smaller housing associations struggling to survive. Genuinely affordable homes must be built where tenants aren’t forced to apply for housing benefit. Instead of borrowing to pay housing benefit we should be borrowing to invest in house building.”