HASL made a mass visit to Southwark town hall this afternoon to demand social housing for our member T and her kids who are facing eviction and homelessness by Southwark council’s social services this week.
T and her kids have been stuck in poor quality temporary accommodation for 4 years now and are desperately in need of secure social housing in their home borough. This year, Southwark council housing office dropped their duty to house T after she refused an offer of social housing that she could not access due to medical reasons. The council deemed her ‘intentionally homeless’ and she was evicted from temporary accommodation. Of course, no one is intentionally homeless. For the last 6 months she has been living in temporary accommodation provided by social services, but they are refusing to house her any longer and she faces eviction this week.
The presence of our large group meant that Ian Swift, LB Southwark Group Services Manager for Homelessness and Housing Options, came to speak with us and we made our demand for suitable social housing for T and her kids. He returned to his office to look at her case on the computer and returned to our group where he told us incorrect details about her case. We attempted to correct him and discuss the situation more but he refused to listen to us and made yet another Southwark council eviction threat to T and the rest of HASL telling us “if you don’t leave, we will call the police and have you evicted”.
We decided to stick about to make our feelings felt, accompanied by drumming from a talented HASL member. Ian Swift call the police on a homeless woman and her supporters to have them evicted from the building. The police arrived and left. We left of our own accord, pledging to return.
Although we didn’t have our immediate demand met this time, our message that no one is intentionally homeless was made clear to the council and will continue to remind them of this. Everyone needs quality, secure, genuinely affordable homes. A big thanks to everyone who showed up and showed such awesome solidarity!
Join us at our last meeting of the year this Thursday at Papa’s cafe at 12pm to plan our next steps and to give and receive housing support, and plan action together for quality homes for all.