Come and show support for a HASL member’s bedroom tax refund. We’ve had enough of being messed around by the housing office!

Join us on Tuesday 22nd April, 10.30am meeting outside Brixton Customer Centre, Olive Morris House, Brixton Hill. Bring friends, family, neighbours!

 

Ellen is due a refund of the bedroom tax that she has been forced to pay for a year now, as she meets the criteria for the bedroom tax loophole. However, the housing office have not been all that helpful in getting this refund back to her.

 

The housing office have taken over a month to respond to our appeal letter and we only received the unfavourable response after chasing them up about this. The response gave very little detail or evidence of why this negative decision had been made.

 

The bedroom tax (one of many brutal welfare and housing cuts) is causing great hardship to the hundreds of thousands of people it is affecting. The refund offers a tiny respite from this stress and suffering by returning a small sum of money that should never have been taken off of them in the first place. It takes little effort from the council and will make a huge different to the people who receive it.

 

Join us to make our challenge at the housing office to demand the bedroom tax refund for Ellen and that our dealings with the housing office to be met with more respect.

 

31mar14011

Esther and Her Family Rehoused!

We’re really happy to hear that Esther and her family are being rehoused by Metropolitan housing association in their local area. Esther, ourselves, and Lambeth Housing Activists confronted Metropolitan last week about making the family homeless and demanded that they fulfil their duties as a so-called ‘social landlord’ and rehouse the family locally. By their deadline of Friday, Metropolitan had been in contact with Esther to offer her a choice two flats in the local area. Collective action works! A massive thanks to everyone who supported Esther. Let’s keep on organising together for quality, secure, truly affordable homes for everyone!

We met Esther when she was at Lambeth housing office on Brixton hill being told her and her family would have to live in temporary accommodation across London in Hackney away from their school, work, and community. HASL members accompanied Esther in the housing office to challenge them about this completely inappropriate accommodation. There we were told that homeless people and families are being sent to temporary accommodation in Enfield, Dagenham, and Margate. Others on the Clapham Park estate are facing eviction by Metropolitan as part of their regeneration scheme – a similar story is happening on other estates across Southwark and Lambeth.

Join us at our regular meetings to discuss what we can do together about these issues and any other housing or welfare issues you’d like to take action on. Our next meeting is this Thursday 10th at 12pm at Southwyck Community Hall on the Moorlands estate off Moorlands road. We will be leafletting at Olive Morris House just up from Lambeth town hall on Brixton hill beforehand from 10am if you’d like to join us.

 

 

 

It’s Our 1st Birthday!

Birthday-Front

Struggling With High Rents, Poor or Overcrowded Housing? Angry at housing & welfare cuts? Sick of evictions threatening you & your community?

Join us to celebrate the 1st birthday of Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth Help us make our second year even better than our first.

Wed 30th April

6:30PM

Renton Close Community Centre, Renton Close, Brixton Hill, London SW2 1EY

Metropolitan housing confronted over eviction

Image

Today, Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth and Lambeth Housing Activists joined Esther to make a public complaint to ‘social landlords’ Metropolitan housing who had made her and her family homeless. Below is a cross post from People’s Republic of Southwark of the protest. Metropolitan have promised to find her alternative housing in the area by this Friday. We will be making sure they keep to their promise! Massive thanks to everyone who came along to show support today!

Housing activists protest against Metropolitan Housing Association which callously evicted a pregnant mother from her home in Clapham Park.

Earlier today, a dozen or so housing activists gathered outside the Metropollitan Housing Association office on New Park Road (Brixton/Clapham), in protest against their eviction of Esther and her family.

We all joined Esther and collectively went into the reception area, demanding to speak with a senior manager, asking they urgently find Esther a new home in the area. One of the managers was refusing to take any responsibility for Esther’s situation, and initially refused to have the discussion at all, saying they would speak to Esther alone and no one else. This wasn’t acceptable, as it was important that whatever Metropolitan had to say, they did so in public, in front of witnesses. Metropolitan staff withdrew into their offices, refusing to discuss the issue publicly. After a bit of a stand-off, three activists went in with Esther, to talk with the housing association managers.

While we waited for them outside, it transpired that another Clapham Park tenant was there too, with his young son, and that he too, and his family, were likely to be evicted soon, unless Metropolitan were held to an account and started acting as responsible landlords towards their tenants, regardless of their tenure. Passers-by stopped to talk, found out what was happening and many expressed their shock and outrage at both the Metropolitan actions, as well as the London housing crisis.

At some point the alarm at the housing office went off by accident and shortly afterwards a police car, then a mini van, stopped outside. The three police officers who stopped to ‘chat’ with the protesters were all fully kitted (with taser guns at their belts). They soon left and then one of the Metropolitan staff locked the automatic door, preventing not just the protesters going in (which we, by that time, had no intention of doing) but also anyone coming out.

A couple stopped outside the entrance to the office, waiting to be let in, and told us of their six or seven years of fight against the Metropolitan – for some six or seven years, they’ve been trying to get Metropolitan to do the necessary repair work on their home and Metropolitan continued to fail to do so. They took it to a solicitor and it is only now that Metropolitan is starting to negotiate a compensation, which, right now, is, as far as the couple in question is concerned, is a pitiful under-estimate for the damage they caused. The wife’s mental health suffered greatly precisely because of the ongoing struggles, so much so in fact that she is now in a refuge in Kent.

When Esther and her supporters eventually emerged from the meeting with the Metropolitan manager, the activists reported, shocked, that the manager started off by claiming they were under no obligation to rehouse Esther (which, considering Esther was pregnant and with a young child, may not be actually true). When asked if this means people should refuse to leave their homes, she replied, ‘If they do that, we’ll just carry them out’. However, Esther managed to get some reassurance and a promise that Metropolitan would try and find an alternative home for her, in the area, by Friday this week (4th April).

Activists promised to be back at the Metropolitan Housing office if this doesn’t happen.

The real concern over the responsibilities of housing associations remain, as local authorities continue to pass their own housing duties onto housing associations, which, in turn, are increasingly behaving like private landlords – we had recently seen Notting Hill Trust (incidentally coming to the Aylesbury soon!) try to impose huge rent increases to residents in Bermondsey, while, just like Metropolitan, being a bit shy when it comes to maintaining and repairing people’s homes.

You can see more photos from today’s protest on our Facebook page.

For more information, please check Lambeth Housing Activists and Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth websites.

 

Support recently evicted local family this Monday

Protest – No To Clapham Park Evictions

Monday 31st March, 11.30 am Clapham Park Offices, 91 New Park Road, SW2 4AX

What would you do if suddenly you and your family were forced out of your home after three years? Would you allow landlords to kick you down and let the council leave you to rot in temporary accommodation miles from your community? Would you stand up? Then stand up with us too!

Join us and Lambeth Housing Activists to support a recently evicted tenant to make a public complaint to Metropolitan Homes and Lambeth Council – we ask, why should a family be evicted from their home and yet the flat remains empty? Why is there a shortage of quality, secure, and truly affordable housing in Lambeth?

What are the priorities of this council and these landlords? Housing for homes, not as assets! Stop the gentrification of Brixton!

Read more background information, and Lambeth council’s provision of inappropriate temporary accommodation across the other side of London, here.

Family Evicted by Demolition Sent Miles from School and Work

This afternoon, members of HASL went down to Lambeth Council’s housing office in Brixton to talk to people there about their housing problems and find out what kind of help (if any) they were getting from the council.

One person we met was E, who has a 7 year old daughter and is almost five months pregnant. Ten days ago she, her partner and her daughter were evicted by Metropolitan Housing Association from their home on Lambeth’s Clapham Park estate so that they could demolish it.

The council refused to help the family until they were actually homeless (even though they could have done so four weeks beforehand) and they have already been shunted around temporary accommodation in two different locations in south London. Today E was told that the only accommodation available from tonight is bed and breakfast accommodation miles away in Hackney. The family are being told to stay their indefinitely.

E works night shifts in Camberwell and her daughter goes to school in Clapham. Finishing work at 8am, it will be impossible for E to get to Hackney to pick up her daughter and get her to school anywhere near on time, meaning disruption to her education. Apart from this, the massive stress the whole situation is causing risks damaging the health of E’s unborn child.

We joined E to challenge the staff in the housing office on their decision to send the family to Hackney and ask how E’s daughter was supposed to get to school. The council officers we spoke to had no answers to this, but were adamant that they had nowhere suitable to house the family. They added that if E didn’t take the B&B accommodation on offer, the would provide no further help.

HASL will be supporting E and her family to demand suitable permanent accommodation which is close enough to E’s place of work and her daughter’s school, and will be discussing what further action to take at our meeting on Wednesday if the situation has not been resolved by then.

Camden council houses occupied in ‘Stop the Sell Offs’ protest

Southampton Road protest occupation

Southampton Road protest occupation

Protest occupation above the party shop

Protest occupation above the party shop

section 144 LAPSO does not apply

section 144 LAPSO does not apply

 

 

Our friends across the river, Camden Housing Action Group, have occupied a council house that Camden council are trying to sell-off. Grassroots direct action for housing for all! Read their press release here and spread the word!

Monday 24th February – Press release – For immediate release

Stop the selloffs! Camden council houses occupied in protest

Photo opportunities – There will be banners on the building so people can take photographs from the street. We will try and get some photos up online soon – please contact camdenhag@gmail.com for more info.

Camden Housing Action Group is occupying council property on Southampton road to protest against its selling off to private developers.

Camden council has promised to the residents of Camden that no residential housing stock would be sold off, but non residential properties such as land and garages would be sold to fund new housing.

Without any consultation or public announcement Camden council broke its promise by offering up for auction several residential properties on Southampton road.

Camden housing action group is calling on Camden council to withdraw the properties from the sale, issue an explanation and confirm that no further sell offs will take place in the future.

Anna Gardener, a member of Camden housing action group said:

“Our occupation is a protest at the mass sell-off of desperately needed council housing in our borough, and the whole of London, which is exacerbating the housing crisis and amounts to social cleansing as low income residents are forced out of zones 1 and 2.

“Our occupation is also a challenge to section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders act which criminalises squatting in abandoned residential properties. By using the building as a protest occupation, section 144 cannot be applied. We want to show the importance of being able to still use abandoned residential buildings for community protests such as ours. Criminalising squatting will only make the housing crisis worse, undermining the right to shelter and protest.”