My solution to the Grenfell Tower short-term housing crisis
Yes, we need a long-term answer too, but here’s what we could do right now.
Find some land that isn’t being used; parkland, brown field development site, whatever. But near Grenfell Tower, that’s important.
Buy or hire however many static caravans that are needed to rehouse the families left homeless by the fire.
Add in the “temporary living” services needed to make this work; portable loos, fresh water, etc, are all available. Just ask anyone who runs a festival or sports event for details if you need them.
This works because :
- The people affected as a community can stay together as a community
- The children of the fire families get some stability, which they will badly be needing right now
- The fire families get low-level housing, which they all badly need (who would think it a great idea to house them in another tower block?)
- It could be done within days
The council have the money, they were giving tax rebates not that long ago!
And if it turns out that the only available land was one of the Royal Parks, or something being landbanked by the developers, then so much the better. Everyone’s incentives would be aligned to sort out the long-term problem fast.
And longer-term? Massive taxation on unused housing, which can be used to pay for a council house-building program for decent quality houses.
The problem isn’t that there is enough housing in the borough, it’s that it’s not being used for housing, but rather as an investment.
We could call it, oh I don’t know, the “under-occupancy penalty”, or the “spare house tax”.
What do you think?