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Housing boss sets out plan to tackle ‘years of decline’

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St Helena’s new housing boss has written of his excitement at the challenge of making sure Saints can afford to live on their own island – a week after it emerged eight families were known to be facing homelessness.

Alan Crowe has started an internet journal about his new job improving existing housing, and “developing new homes and even new communities.”

But he promises he won’t be imposing UK practices when he arrives on the island later in November.

“The UK model has failed,” he writes, “with house prices way beyond the means of all but a few first-time buyers, homelessness rising fast and ‘affordable rents’ condemning many to the poverty trap.

“The most exciting part of the job is that there is a blank sheet of paper when it comes to housing legislation and housing management. St Helena has very little of either.”

He acknowledges that locals might be wary of an unknown face. “Who is this guy? How is he going to tackle years of decline successfully?”

The trick is to meet both local housing needs and demand for luxury accommodation, and managing land use, which affects prices and housing costs. “Shielding housing prices from the ravages of inflation is the way to make housing affordable for local people in perpetuity.”

Read the full piece here.

The Castle confronts homelessness and over-crowding

Alan’s blog post has been re-published on The Guardian website, here.

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