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Tower Hamlets’ hard work around homelessness featured in Channel 4 documentary

10An episode of the Channel 4 series “How to get a council house”, which showcased

the work of Tower Hamlets Housing Options Service last year, will be repeated

again tonight (Monday, July 27) at 9pm.

The episode focuses on the work the council does around homelessness. The work

of former Service Head of Housing Options, Colin Cormack, is featured in this

documentary – along with officers from his service.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “It is great to see this documentary,

which showcases the hard work of our colleagues in the Housing Options team,

getting another airing.

“It is also timely. I am concerned about the impact the government’s latest budget

may have in Tower Hamlets. The combination of freezing some benefits and cutting

others will impact adversely on our most vulnerable residents.

“The government’s decision to limit child tax credits and universal credit (UC) to two

children will cause financial difficulties to larger families on low incomes in Tower

Hamlets – including those already in work. This initiative makes it harder for families

already struggling on low wages and will undermine our local efforts to support


“We have a number of families living in temporary accommodation that will be

negatively affected by the benefit cap. As the reduction would come from their

housing benefit, this will impact on the affordability of their current accommodation –

placing further pressure on discretionary housing payments.

“The reduction in housing benefit will also place stress on permanently housed

housing benefit households – and could potentially increase arrears and

homelessness applications.”

An average of 2.1 million people watched each episode of the documentary series,

climbing to a peak of 2.4 million by the end of each episode.

Tower Hamlets Council staff, and their professionalism in the face of challenging

circumstances, received positive reviews from a range of national media outlets.

The series also created a Twitter storm of debate about the implications for people in

need of social housing across the UK. Leading journalists and a wide range of the

public also commented on the issues affecting social housing in the UK.