Tag Archives: LCAP news

November LCAP news and upcoming events

Make sure to sign up to our London Coalition Against Poverty news and upcoming events newsletter which we (hope to!) send out every few months. You can sign up here

Dear LCAP members and supporters,

Please find below an update of what LCAP groups have been getting up to across London and find out how you can get involved.

Thank you for your support!

1) News from Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth

2) Haringey Housing Action Group

3) Upcoming events

4) Making a standing order to LCAP – help us get 100 supporters! + other fundraising news

1) News from Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth

Activities and campaigns

Meetings

Our regular meetings have been very busy with 50-60 people with immediate housing problems (with a peak of 90 people at our Saturday September meeting). At our Saturday meetings we also have 20-30 kids and a growing team of adults helping to run kids activities. At our meetings we give advice and support and share housing rights information and plan on our personal cases and wider campaigns. We’ve been getting more experienced at dealing with such large group meetings but we want to run a group training session so that we can all be involved more in running meetings and the group in general. Lots of our old members have been returning to help others which has been a great help. Common problems include dealing with the homelessness process, especially the Homelessness Reduction Act, overcrowding, unsuitable temporary accommodation, disrepair in private rented housing, joining the housing register and long waits on the housing register for council housing.

Through our meetings, we’ve helped to organise buddying at the housing office, small group meetings to work on a specific task or problem and other practical help and support on our cases.

Twitter storms work – support us online!

We often tweet local councils and councillors about our members’ cases and wider problems that our members face. This has been really effective in highlighting our members problems and forcing the council to act. Recently, our member D was threatened with eviction from temporary accommodation for rent arrears caused by problems with Universal Credit. Twitter pressure helped to stop the eviction. 

Our member F, who we mentioned in the last LCAP news, who is a homeless survivor of domestic violence is reviewing Southwark’s decision that she is not in priority need and is now awaiting the outcome of this review. We’ve tweeted in support of her here. Please retweet and/or write your own tweet in support of her.

Council tenancy rights training

In September we ran a council tenancy rights training session for 7 members who had all recently moved into their new council homes. It’s really wonderful to have gone from sharing homelessness rights to council tenancy rights with these same members.

Call to stop all evictions from temporary accommodation

Universal Credit is continuing to cause serious problems for many of our members, the long delays in receiving Universal Credit are causing rent arrears. A number of our members in temporary accommodation have faced eviction threats due to Universal Credit rent arrears. We’re calling on Southwark council to stop all evictions from temporary accommodation. Homeless households need support not evictions.

Homelessness Reduction Act

We continue to be unimpressed with the Homelessness Reduction Act which has simply drawn out and made the already stressful homeless process evening more confusing. It has simply caused more anxiety and stress for families who have been offered private housing in Manchester and Birmingham. We do not have a single example of where the HRA has been better than the old law. We wrote a blog post on the Homelessness Reduction Act here. Haringey Housing Action Group have written a new homelessness rights leaflet to help people understand the new law and enforce their rights at the housing office. Hopefully this will be launched soon.

Protests and campaigns

Back in July, we joined other local groups and campaigners to call on Southwark council to stop the disastrous social cleansing plans for Elephant and Castle shopping centre. We’ll continue to support campaigns and protests against the council’s social cleansing plans and calling for council homes and community facilities for our needs. You can see photos here.

Future plans

We’ve got lots of ideas and plans for activities and campaigns we’d like to run, including a training session sharing ideas and tactics on running the group, more social events, and campaigning for 3,4,5 bed council homes as there is a particular shortage and extra long waits for these homes.

Recent successes

Ruben’s victory

In the last LCAP news, we mentioned our protest organised by Ruben with our support on his case. Exactly a month after our protest, Ruben received confirmation from Lambeth council that he would have higher medical priority on the waiting list. This meant that Ruben and his family were able to successfully bid on a new home.

Southwark council successfully challenged on overcrowding
With the help of our friends at the Public Interest Law Centre, we were able to challenge Southwark council’s incorrect calculation of statutory overcrowding – not only will this challenge benefit our member and her family, but also other families who are suffering from overcrowded housing which is a big problem in our group and across Southwark and London. Southwark council had been calculating statutory overcrowding wrongly and telling people who were statutorily overcrowded that they were not!  We regularly contacted the council to explain to them that they were wrong. With the help of a lawyer from PILC and the effort of HASL members, we were able to get the council to admit that they were wrong!

There’s an article with our members explaining about the victory here

Read PILC’s press release here

Other cases

We’ve had many important successes where families have been able to move into council housing, or seen some other improvement on their housing or case, as a direct result of the support and help they have received in meetings. At the beginning of each meeting, someone has arrived with good news to share on their case. This has come through long-term involvement and group support. Of course, the reality is that it often takes far too long for people to get the suitable, secure, council homes they need, but we know that with help from the group, we have helped people to access their rights and council housing. One of our members emailed us: I can say that I have my flat for my son and me, it is the biggest flat that I’ve ever seen in London, more that I expect, thank you so much.

Website: www.housingactionsl.org Twitter @housingactionsl Facebook Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth

2) Haringey Housing Action Group

We meet regularly at 10am on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month at North London Community House, in Cafe Life, 22 Moorefield Rd, N17 6PY, behind Bruce Grove Station, opposite the Royal Mail sorting office.

Website: www.haringeyhousingaction.org.uk/ Twitter @haringeyhousing Facebook Haringey Housing Action Group

3) Upcoming events

Saturday 10th November, Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth have been invited to speak on a panel on homelessness and the housing crisis at this years Rebel Law conference. Rebel Law describe themselves here: Rebel Law UK is an entirely student-run conference which brings together students, lawyers and activists determined to use the law for the benefit of marginalised communities and individuals. Running for its third year the Conference will again be taking place at the University of Law’s Moorgate Campus, on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November.

Saturday 10th November, we’ve also been invited to speak at Solfed’s conference  ‘Radical unionism at home and at work’.

We will be organising an end of year celebration. Get in touch with your local group for updates.

4) Making a standing order to LCAP

We’ve recently been on a funding drive to get 100 people to sign up to a standing order of £4 a month which would help cover our yearly running costs. Standing orders from supporters help build solidarity and make fundraising for us stress-free and sustainable as well as allowing us to retain our independence and autonomy. We’re half way to our target and we’d love to meet our target by the end of the year. You can read and share our funding drive blog post here. If you would like to set up a standing order with LCAP please email haslfinances@gmail.com

We also recently received a grant of £1,500 from the Edge Fund alongside lots of other great grassroots groups that we were proud to be included with.

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