Homes Sweet Homes

As I said at my Annual Address, housing remains a key focus for this administration. Whether by working to tackle homelessness, or through the city-wide initiatives that address the national housing crisis, my Labour administration is delivering the homes people in Bristol need and want.

Homelessness in Bristol is a growing consequence of the national austerity programme, which has eroded the support services the Council is able to provide. Despite this pressure, my administration continues to focus on early intervention and support schemes. In 2017,  Bristol City Council and key partners successfully prevented 4,486 households from becoming homeless. In addition to our network of shelters across Bristol, I am committed to getting people off the streets, out of temporary shelters, and into homes. Last year, we moved over 300 people from the streets into accommodation. To take this further, we need more affordable houses across Bristol.

When I pledged to deliver 2000 homes a year by 2020, I knew this would be a challenge. I am pleased to be able to say we are on track to exceed this target – by 2020 we will have delivered over 3,000 completed homes, over 1,000 of which will be affordable. This would not be possible without some key initiatives. Our New Build Housing Programme is regenerating brownfield sites to deliver new homes, and our City Office is launching a Housing Festival in October to explore new and innovative methods of construction which can be used to deliver affordable homes across the city.

Crucial to our Housing Plan is redeveloping and regenerating areas to ensure houses become homes integrated within communities. Millions of pounds in funding has been secured to unlock development projects in Temple Meads, Western Harbour, Hengrove, Southmead, Lockleaze, and other areas which will deliver additional houses. We have also supported the launch of a £57 million fund for housing associations to buy land and properties from the private sector. Our success is even attracting attention from other Core Cities who are interested in the momentum of our model.

Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Housing and Town Planning Act 1919, which provided for the first council house estates to be built. At the time, Britain faced a housing shortage, especially of affordable rented properties for the working classes. As we today face similar pressures, we are reflecting on the history of council estates in Bristol, and what lessons they offer for the future of place-making. With this in mind, we will be breaking ground on a new council development this autumn: Alderman Moores in Ashton Vale will provide over 130 new homes. This administration is reinvesting in our existing stock and building new homes for the future, demonstrating our commitment to deliver housing for Bristol.

It’s easy to talk about housebuilding in the abstract as units and numbers, but our priority is to create sustainable and affordable spaces people can call their home.

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