Key workers move into homes fit for heroes

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Key workers who served on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic are settling into modern new homes provided through a Kensington and Chelsea pilot programme.

Under the key worker accommodation scheme, 14 flats on Kensal Road in North Kensington were offered at affordable rents to NHS and education professionals who serve the borough’s residents.

The Council received more than 325 expressions of interest in the one-, two- and three-bedroom properties, with the levels of demand now being used to develop a full key worker housing policy for the Council.

Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Housing, said:

“The pandemic has reminded us all of the debt we owe to those who serve our communities and it’s a privilege to have provided affordable, modern homes for some of our key workers.

“The response we’ve had to this pilot programme has shown that there’s a real demand for homes like this. We will use what we have learned to shape a policy that benefits many more key workers in the future, alongside our plans to build 600 new Council-owned homes in the borough.”

One of the new Kensal Road residents is Cate Latto, a mental health professional who has worked at nearby St Charles Hospital throughout the pandemic.

Cate, who created and runs the One Community programme that helps mental health patients transition from hospital to home, said:

“This property is just wonderful and it's fantastic to be in such a beautiful place in the heart of the community where I serve and which I love. I am so close to so many of the projects I work and link with.

“Before this I was in private rental and my living conditions weren’t great, so to move here and be able to call this my home is surreal. It's a wonderful opportunity and makes me feel I am in the right place and appreciated and cared for by the Council.”

The key worker pilot programme was open to NHS workers and primary and secondary school staff who provide services to Kensington and Chelsea residents.

The 14 properties are comprised of five one-bedroom, eight two-bedroom and one three-bedroom apartments each with fitted kitchens, integrated appliances and flooring throughout and were offered at “intermediate” rents, which are affordable rates for those unlikely to access homes at social rent levels, but who may not be able to afford open market rates.