Category Archives: News/updates

Council homes and affordable cinema for all – our plan for Southwark

Southwark council are conducting a ‘public consultation’ on their New Southwark Plan, a draft plan of future developments in the borough. This public consultation closes on Friday 28th April. Southwark council’s plans for our borough look pretty huge and it’s hard to get your head around, especially with the fast approaching deadline, and if like many people in the borough lots of your time is spent trying to house yourself, support others and generally just survive. Despite the ‘public consultation’, it’s likely that you haven’t had your ideas concerning your neighborhood and borough listened to.

The threat to the PeckhamPlex cinema, one of the few affordable cinemas left in London, has caught the local headlines. There’s a template letter here calling for the current plans for the PeckhamPlex to be put on hold. And other community and public spaces are under threat too –such as the Peckham Arch in front of Peckham library (petition to save it here) and grassy plots in Peckham.

After Southwark’s terrible reputation for destroying council housing and doing terrible deals with developers (just look at the Heygate estate and the Aylesbury estate), the council are promising lots of new homes as part of the Southwark Plan. But their mantra of ‘homes, homes, homes’ is deceptive. Southwark desperately needs council homes, particularly for those with high housing need on the housing register, not ‘affordable’ homes or private rented homes. And homes should not come at the cost of community spaces.

Think that ‘regeneration’ shouldn’t look like this? Struggling or don’t want to fill in their in inaccessible and confusing consultation? Concerned about rent rises, poor housing and gentrification we’re already experiencing in our communities? Don’t worry, together we can make sure that there are plenty more ways to highlight and assert the needs of our communities and neighborhoods – council housing, community spaces, and affordable cinema for all!

The New Southwark Plan consultation can be viewed and responded to online here. Although it looks like it’s only available in English – so many of Southwark’s residents who do not have English as a first language, or literacy, or internet access are already excluded. Whether you fill it out or not, get involved in HASL to organise collective action on housing and poverty issues in our communities.

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Stop another social housing sell off! Join our twitter storm this Friday.

This Friday, housing associations will vote on whether to go ahead with selling off their/our social housing under an extended Right to Buy. Only, the decision has been made already. Either housing associations vote YES and allow their social housing stock to be sold off, or the government plans to push this Right to Buy of Housing Association homes through Parliament.

Thatcher’s original Right to Buy decimated social housing, contributing to the huge housing crisis we now face. There is massive demand for quality, secure, social housing but housing associations and the government are looking to sell-off the little we have left.

As a group of homeless people, badly and precariously housed people, and social housing tenants, this proposed sell-off affects us all. We totally oppose any sell-off of social housing. Many of us are in desperate need of quality, secure, social housing in our communities.

As part of these plans, the discount given to tenants to buy their housing association home will be paid for by the sell-off of COUNCIL HOUSING. We expect that council housing in Lambeth and Southwark (areas that now have become incredibly valuable) will be under threat for selling off to pay for discounts to help with the sell-off of housing association homes. This means more social cleansing as council homes in high value areas will be lost – meaning poor people can no longer live here.

We probably can’t stop the housing associations voting YES this Friday, lots of them have made their minds up already – but we will continue to organise, take action, and make our voices heard in our communities to make the sell-off as difficult as possible.

Twitter storm this Friday anyone? Are you a social housing tenant or someone in housing need? Angry at social cleansing and profiteering private landlords? Why not let your council and the housing associations know your opposition to the Housing Association Right to Buy this Friday as the Housing Associations go to vote. You can contact them on social media, and be sure to include us @housingactionsl.

HASL June/July News and Events

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1) We’ve recently had two pieces of writing published on Novara Wire.

One looks at tips that we’ve learnt from our 2 years of organising as HASL (and with the advice, support and inspiration of other LCAP groups!) Please have a read and let us know if you’ve got any other ideas that we’ve missed out!

Our second piece is from our Freedom of Information request research looking at how councils are forcing homeless households into the private sector and out of London. 

2) We’re going to the anti-austerity march this Saturday 20th June.

Quality homes for all, no welfare cuts, fight poverty! Join us at 11am outside Brixton tube station to travel up and march together.

3) On Friday 26th June we’re supporting the Mental Health Resistance Network’s March on Streatham Job Centre 

Protest at mental health services and support being moved into Job Centres where claimants are subjected to a culture of bullying and the threat of benefit sanctions. Any quality and consensual mental health support must be kept separate from the DWP bullies who wield sanctions over claimants every move. Read more from Johnny Void here.

4) Our next lunch club with London Campaign Against Police and State Violence is on Saturday 4th July from 12pm at Burgess Park meeting by the kids’ playground.

Come along for free, nutritious food, good company, games, and to meet others organising against poverty, supporting each other and fighting for quality homes for all.

If you’d like to help organise the next lunch club, including collecting donations, and/or helping to cook on the day, get in touch with us (haslemail@gmail.com) or come to our meeting next Wednesday. Join and share our facebook event here.

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5) Our next HASL meeting is next Wednesday 24th June, 6.30pm at Renton Close Community Centre, Renton Close Estate, Brixton Hill, SW2 1EY. 

Come along for support, information, and collective action on your housing problems, to help others in similar situations, and to fight to quality homes for all.

6) The next London Coalition Against Poverty general meeting will be on Saturday 11th July in Hackney.

Details to be confirmed. Save the date! Meet up with other mutual support and collective action groups, share tactics and advice, plan action together!