On 15thJuly Members of the Coalition met with Rachel Sharpe, the Interim Director for Housing, Neighbourhoods & Communities, together with Councillors from the Housing Committee, via Zoom.
Ms. Sharpe revealed that 500 people had been removed from the street and placed in Hotels and Guesthouses. As the hotels begin to open up for regular business there are plans to move the former street sleepers to other forms of accommodation, including halls of residence. Ms. Sharpe said the situation provides “both an opportunity and a massive challenge but no one should end up back on the street.”
The Coalition tabled figures for new homes which indicate that the council is paying twice as much as is should for new build housing. Ms. Sharpe commented, “We need to be satisfied that we are getting value for money.” The Coalition agreed to provide details of comparative new build construction costs across the country.
The meeting discussed the effect of Covid 19 on homelessness, given the likely increase in Job losses. The Coalition suggested that there was a case to be made for a Housing & Homelessness Conference post Covid 19, to discuss, learn and put forward plans to recover and rebuild; the Interim Director agreed to consider the proposal.
The meeting went on to discuss the Mini Home Pods designed by Sussex Homeless Support and now at an advanced stage of development. Ms Sharpe was happy to learn more about the project, as the council needs a range of options.
A further Zoom meeting with the Interim Director is planned for w/c 27thJuly to discuss implementing the Homeless Bill of Rights in Brighton & Hove.
Rachel Sharpe Housing Job History
- Director of Housing Needs & Supply: Feb 2019 – Mar 2020 Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
At Lambeth Council Rachel Sharpe led the following roles
- Director Strategic Programmes 2017 – 2019
- Commissioning Director, Housing & Communities 2013 – 2017
- Director Of Housing 2009 – 2013
Prior to this Rachel Sharpe worked as Head Of Strategy & Regeneration for London Borough of Southwark from 1998 – 2009.