Lambeth council – don’t evict Denby court residents!

Help Denby court homeless families demand better treatment from Lambeth council, call to stop the evictions, and demand a better development plan for Lambeth families – 100% council housing on council owned land!

Denby Court in Kennington is one of the many council estates that Lambeth Council have earmarked for “regeneration”/demolition. While the council were waiting to demolish the buildings they used the estate as temporary accommodation for homeless families. Even though no demolition work is expected until August 2021, and there is currently no planning permission for the new development, the council are already threatening to evict the homeless families on the estate.

Families from Denby court attended a recent HASL meeting and told us how they have already spent years living in properties in Denby court which are overcrowded and in disrepair. Now they are being told they will be moved to new accommodation soon with little information of when exactly they will be moved, or where they will end up. As Davida recently told the Guardian:

“None of us wants to stay in the poor conditions we are living in but we want to be treated like people who have rights, not just moved on again, during a pandemic, to more temporary accommodation miles away from our schools and support networks.”

None of the families who joined our meeting had been clearly told what was going to happen to them. Some of the families have been pressured by the Council to give up their homeless duties and accept private accommodation. Some have been told that they will be housed in temporary accommodation outside of their home borough of Lambeth. Neither of these options are acceptable and this situation is causing serious distress to the families.

Some of the families we spoke to have medical and care needs – the last thing the Council should be doing is moving them at little notice far away from their support networks and children’s schools. Another resident described how Denby Court was her third temporary accommodation, and now she and her children are facing being moved into a fourth.

Lambeth Council must immediately stop any eviction plans and reassure the residents that they will be able to remain in their homes until longer-term solutions can be found by listening to the needs and wishes of the residents. Some of these longer term solutions could include giving direct offers of permanent social housing, allowing the families enough time at Denby court to bid for permanent social housing through the housing waiting list or finding suitable temporary accommodation in the local area to minimise disruption.

As if trying to evict and displace vulnerable homeless families was not bad enough – the new proposed development is not even a good deal for Lambeth residents. Denby Court estate is on council owned land – the council should be using this to maximise the number of family-sized council homes to help address the severe housing crisis we face. However, only 49 of the 141 new properties will be at Council rent. Lambeth council must do better than this for their residents! All new homes built on council land should be council homes!

It is positive to see that there will be 4 bedroom council homes on the new estate – as there is desperate need for larger family sized council homes – but there are only 5 of these planned for the whole estate.

The demolition of the estate should not be considered until a fair solution is found for its current residents and a better plan is made which has more family-sized council homes for a development on council-owned land. 

Show your support from Denby court homeless families!

  • Sign their petition here
  • If you’re a Lambeth resident, please use our template email below to email the Lambeth Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness Jennifer Brathwaite: jbrathwaite@lambeth.gov.uk
  • If your local MP is Florence Eshalomi please email her as well: florence.eshalomi.mp@parliament.uk

Email template:

Dear

I am writing to you in support of the homeless families at Denby Court estate.

 I am really concerned at  the treatment these families are facing by Lambeth council and I hope you can intervene to support these vulnerable homeless families. 


As you are probably aware, Lambeth council has decanted the council tenants from the estate and has been using Denby court as temporary accommodation for homeless families. Now that Lambeth wants to push ahead with demolition of the estate, Lambeth is trying to evict the families in temporary accommodation. The options offered to the families seem to be private rented housing or temporary accommodation out of borough. This approach by the council is completely unacceptable. It is causing serious distress to the families.


I am asking that the council immediately stop any eviction plans and give reassurance to the residents that they will be able to remain in their homes until longer-term solutions can be found by listening to the needs and wishes of the residents.    
Some of these longer term solutions could include giving direct offers of permanent social housing, allowing them to bid for permanent social housing through the Choice Based Lettings or finding suitable temporary accommodation in the local area to minimise disruption. 


Finally, the new proposed development on the site of Denby court does not seem to be a good deal for Lambeth residents. This is council land and the council should be maximising the number of family-sized council homes to help address the severe housing crisis we face. New developments on council land should be 100% council housing. However, under the current development plans, only 49 of the 141 new properties will be at Council rent.

If the council can justify demolition of the estate in the future, rather than refurbishment, then the proposed development needs to offer more family-sized council homes (3, 4, 5 bed council homes) for Lambeth residents so that homeless households and families living in overcrowded housing can be suitably housed. But demolition of the estate should not be considered until a fair solution is found for it’s current residents and a better plan is made which has more family-sized council homes for a development on council-owned land. 


I really hope that you will support your constituents with their urgent housing cases and that they are given reassurance that they will not be forced to leave against their will. I hope long-term solutions can be found for all the families at Denby court.  


Yours sincerely, 

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