Leader – Homes and a way

Long ago, farm animals warmed a homeless family because there was no place at the inn for them, and this act of kindness spawned an entire religious tradition.

Unfortunately, 21st-century human planners are not all so generous.

Having a roof over one’s head is a basic social right, yet the loss of social housing on Woodberry Down Estate suggests that this right will not be extended to as many families in Hackney as might be possible.

We are hopeful that this will soon change.

The Citizen welcomes Mayor Caroline Woodley’s pledge to increase substantially the amount of truly affordable housing that is available.

There are many ways in which this can be accomplished: cracking down on empty homes, retrofitting office and retail space that is no longer needed in an age of home-working and online shopping, and building where absolutely necessary.

The key to making this programme work is to adopt a realistic approach to ‘affordability’: not everyone is able or willing to buy a shared-ownership property, and council housing must be at the heart of any plan.

Let’s make room at the inn for everybody.