Over 50 HASL members joined our noise protest outside Southwark town hall at the start of this month in support of Milton’s family and all families living in overcrowded housing. As well as families coming from Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham, some of our members traveled from their temporary accommodation out in Croydon. Other members joined us from Haringey and Hackney. You can watch some videos on our twitter here.
Our noise protest lasted over 2 hours making sure that the council could not ignore us and resulting in the housing manager coming down to speak with the families. He promised Milton’s family that they would receive a decision on their case by the following week. Unfortunately, this deadline has not been met. We have been keeping the pressure up on twitter and we might have to return with even more people and even more noise.
Milton’s family has faced extreme bullying from the council over the last 3 years. The family of 4 have been living in a tiny studio flat for four and a half years after this was the only property they could find after facing discrimination by private landlords and unaffordable local rents. Due to the serious level of overcrowding, the family should qualify for band 1 which would allow them to be quickly re-housed into suitable social housing. Instead of supporting the family, the council wrongly accused the family of committing fraud over an innocent admin error, threatened them with criminal prosecution for causing overcrowding and have insisted that the family’s overcrowding is a ‘deliberate act’. The family have been repeatedly asked by the council why they need to live in Southwark.
Last December, another HASL family successfully challenged Southwark council’s decision that their overcrowding was a ‘deliberate act’ in the Court of Appeal. The judgement should help other severely overcrowded families including Milton’s but from our experience so far, it seems that the council are ignoring this important ruling.
Along with Public Interest Law Cetnre we are also supporting a number of other HASL members who live in severely overcrowded housing to be treated fairly and respectfully and to claim their rightful position on the housing waiting list.
Thank you to everyone who joined who helped make it such a strong and powerful protest! We all know that no one chooses to live in overcrowded housing, hopefully Southwark council will finally get the message!