On Tuesday evening members of HASL (Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth) attended Southwark Council’s Cabinet Meeting to demand that Southwark Council ensures all families living in severely overcrowded houses are given priority for social housing immediately.
Southwark Council’s Housing Allocations Policy states that Statutory Overcrowded households qualify for Band 1 Priority. Our demand is simple: Southwark Council must follow the rules they themselves have set in place and put their policies into practice.
The council have the view that living in overcrowded housing is a ‘deliberate act’ of the families. Yesterday evening we asked them, how can enduring years of overcrowded and appalling conditions be deliberate? Southwark Council were unable to answer.
During our meeting, Southwark Council told us that they sympathised, but refused to meet our demands. We do not ask for sympathy, we ask for action. We will keep fighting until our demands are met, and the families facing overcrowding are given the Band 1 priority they are entitled to.
As well as sympathy, we were offered excuses numerous excuse from the councillors, we made our demand again that the situation is resolved immediately. The councillors got upset that their meeting agenda was being disrupted and threatened to throw us out. We held our ground and left of our own accord.
Thank you to the families who bravely spoke about their housing situations to a room full of suited strangers, and to everyone who came and supported including English for Action and South East London Sisters Uncut.