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Performance: Renewed Overcrowding Reduction Strategy

Our Board members have the ultimate responsibility for all actions taken in Poplar HARCA’s name. They delegate to Committees to provide assurance on specific areas of Poplar HARCA’s work. The Services Committee has oversight of Poplar HARCA’s services to residents. It makes sure policies, procedures and performance are of the highest standard.


  • One of Poplar HARCA’s key priorities is to alleviate housing need, which includes reducing the number of families living in overcrowded homes. Not living in a safe, secure home that can have a serious impact on wellbeing.
  • Housing demand in Tower Hamlets far outstrips supply. Over 8,000 families are living in properties that are too small for them to live well, and many households that need to move have to wait many years.
  • Many of Poplar HARCA’s tenants live in overcrowded properties. So, in 2016 the Services Committee asked us to explore how we could support more families to move to larger homes, whilst still complying with our Allocations Policy.
  • In 2019, we reviewed how effective our Overcrowding Reduction Strategy had been, reporting back to the Committee on what had been achieved, and improvements to the strategy.


  • The Committee heard that:
    • There had been a 30% reduction in the number of tenants wanting to move.
    • Of the original 714 overcrowded households in 2014, 348 were still on the list – a reduction of 51%.
    • Of the 348 still on the list, most have had offers.
  • The Committee decided that:
    • The strategy was working.
    • As more households had become overcrowded in the intervening years, the strategy should continue.
    • More work should be done to understand under-occupiers’ expectations and aspirations to move.
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