Please help us demand the secure, local social housing that Mary Luz and her family desperately need after over a year of appalling, dangerous housing conditions and neglect and mistreatment from Lambeth council. Join our twitter and email storm this Monday 10am–12pm. More details below.
Mary Luz won’t give up and neither will we!
In response to pressure from Mary Luz and HASL, Lambeth council said they would review the temporary accommodation and banding that the family have. Mary Luz collected together statements of support to bring her and her family back to their home borough from children’s schools, Mary Luz’s doctors, the family’s church, and her English teacher at English for Action. She did this by the 7 day deadline set by Lambeth. But they have not given an outcome to their review within the one month deadline they set themselves. The family have spent yet another month in unsuitable accommodation. This delay is just another insult in the long list of failures and mistreatment Mary Luz has endured. Her youngest daughter almost missed her SATs exam because of the long journey to school, causing her enormous distress. Lambeth must give the family the secure, social housing that they should have got a year ago!
This month marks 1 year since Mary Luz first approached Lambeth council for housing help because of severe overcrowding. She was unlawfully turned away without any housing help by the council and the family were forced to remain in unsuitable, severely overcrowded housing for many more months, causing the family great stress and hardship. Mary Luz was then the victim of an assault in the accommodation, by a woman from another family sharing the accommodation. This domestic violence incident was caused by Lambeth council’s neglect.
After the assault, Lambeth finally opened up a homeless application and provided temporary housing– but only after the intervention of HASL and English for Action who challenged the council’s gatekeeping tactics. They were yet again trying to send Mary Luz back to dangerous, unsuitable accommodation.
This was in December, and the council provided unsuitable temporary accommodation for the family out in Lewisham. The children have a two hour journey to school, and Mary Luz has long and difficult journeys to visit her doctors and her hospital who are all based in Lambeth.
The catalogue of poor treatment and severe neglect – with consequences that put the family in physical danger – is extensive.
If Lambeth council had provided housing help when Mary Luz visited them in May last year, the family could have been given social housing, as their allocations policy states that private rented accommodation where council enforcement action is needed, gives people this priority. If the council had offered any housing help, it’s likely the family would be in social housing by now. Lambeth must make sure that the family are given the secure, social housing back home in their home borough that they desperately need.
Leader of Lambeth council Lib Peck hasn’t made an effort to support her resident Mary Luz. But she does have time to meet and speak to property developers next month.
This is Mary Luz’s message to the council:
I’m still waiting for an answer – every day I am. My daughters are too – desperately waiting to move back to Lambeth because they have many activities in the borough – they can’t go to any more and it makes them so upset! I don’t know how to calm them down – it makes me feel terrible. At the moment they’re doing exams, and they arrive late to school because of the long journey, it makes them feel so bad. How much longer will I have to wait for Lambeth’s reply?
Please join us tweeting and emailing the council to demand urgent action is taken. See our template tweet and email below.
Tweet to Council Leader Lib Peck & Cabinet Member for Housing, Matthew Bennett
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Dear Lambeth council,
Hopefully you are familiar with Mary Luz’s case. I’m writing to express my concern that Lambeth council have not yet taken the urgent action needed to make sure the family are given the social housing they should have been given a year ago.
Mary Luz and her family have spent yet another month in unsuitable temporary accommodation. The review was supposed to be concluded within a month, yet the family have heard nothing. The situation is extremely urgent, particularly as her children have exams this month.
The family have endured over a year of appalling and unsuitable housing conditions, because of Lambeth council. They desperately need to return to their home borough to secure social housing.
HASL have contacted you about a number serious incidents of poor treatment Mary Luz was subjected to. We do hope that you will listen to these and respond. Right now, our concern is the immediate housing needs of the family.
We hope you will act immediately to make sure the family have access to secure, social housing.