I went to a Housing Scrutiny Committee meeting last night and among the items on the agenda was Hammersmith and Fulham Council's strategy to help tenants in temporary accommodation.
One section concerned our "conscious and targeted effort to offer incentives to lone parents not in work residing in temporary accommodation." We seek to "break down the barriers" including "justified fears about being financially worse off in full time work."
"In order to demonstrate to lone parent households the effort and commitment required on their part to engage in this programme, 30 social housing tenancies per annum are specifically ring fenced for lone parents who come through this programme and go on to sustain employment for a minimum period of six months. If they meet the criteria they have their banding on choice based lettings systems increased from band C to band D and with a priority date backdated by a year. This puts them in a favourable position to bid successfully for properties advertised to them under the lone parent quota. To date 21 lone parent families have achieved rehousing via this route."
It is early days. The numbers involved are modest. I am not suggesting that in my borough the problem of single parents being locked in dependency has been solved. (As Barack Obama would say: "The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term, there will be setbacks and false starts….") But the initial success has been sufficient to interest several other councils (Labour as well as Conservative), as well as central Government, to come and see us to find out about it.