Monthly Archives: October 2014

London’s housing crisis: the story of the Focus E15 mums

The Guardian newspaper have made a short film about the story of the Focus E15 campaign.

To watch, click here.

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Focus E15 Statement, 6/10/14

During our occupation Steven Hedley of the RMT has visited both our house and street stall. Last year another member of the RMT sought the support of her union and the police after a very serious physical assault by Hedley, her partner at the time.

All members of the Focus E15 campaign would like to make it very clear that this is a women led campaign which began with a group of vulnerable young mothers living in a hostel. Many of the women were accommodated in Focus E15 hostel due to fleeing domestic violence. We therefore take the safety of our members and supporters very seriously. With this in mind, we have asked Steve Hedley not to come to any Focus E15 led events in future. We have also asked that the RMT send a female representative if they want to support our actions.

We would like to send a message of solidarity to Caroline Leneghan, Hedley’s former partner and we admire her bravery in speaking out against a man in a position of considerable power.

The Focus E15 Campaign fights for social housing for all but particularly recognises the importance of access to social housing for those in danger. In such circumstances, a safe home could mean the difference between life and death.

If you have been affected by anything written in this statement, please call The National Domestic Violence Helpline, free from landlines on  0808 2000.

Jasmin and Sam’s statement at Bow County Court

This is the full statement read out by Jasmine Stone and Sam Middleton after Newham Council dropped their legal action against their two week political occupation of boarded up house on the Carpenter’s Estate.

We are overwhelmed and grateful for the support and solidarity from both the local and the wider community. Also thank you to Anthony Gold, ITN solicitors and our barrister Lyndsey Johnson.

We have decided to leave 80-86 Doran Walk on our own terms by 7th October, as planned. Newham have agreed to this, with no other conditions and have dropped their Interim Possession Order.

We have celebrated a year of the E15 campaign, during which we have tried to engage with Newham Council on a number of occasions and they have refused to listen. As a result, our political occupation was the only option to escalate our demands for social housing, not social cleansing. We have reached our goal of highlighting the issue of decent homes left empty on the estate and we have built lasing link with the residents and the community. This has be broadcast to millions of people. Ultimately this occupation was never about staying indefinitely, but about our demands to Newham Council. These demands remain and they include:

– Repopulating the Carpenter’s Estate with secure council tenancies now

– An immediate end to decanting and evictions of existing residents

– No demolition of the estate

– The management of Carpenters estate by residents and for residents, with no third party or private management involvement We will continue fighting to save council housing and to ensure decent housing for all.

This is the beginning of the end of the housing crisis.

Victory to the Focus E15 Occupation

FOCUS E15 PRESS RELEASE: 2/10/14

Victory to Focus E15 Occupation

The fight for council housing in Newham and London continues

Despite Newham Council’s attempt to evict us, we can today confirm that the E15 Open House occupation will continue until 7th October as planned.

We called Newham Council on the first day of the occupation to negotiate with us. The plan was never to stay indefinitely. They refused to speak to us. Instead they chose to use draconian and expensive legal procedures, threats and dirty tricks. They cut off our water and vandalized the water mains, served an unlawful court summons with only two hours notice and they have repeatedly misled the public.

If Newham had come to talk to us we could have agreed to leave within two weeks. Instead, they refused to enter into a dialogue. We would like to know how much taxpayers money has been spent on taking us to court, and how many people that money could have housed.

Our demands to the Council continue to be:

• Repopulate the Carpenters Estate with secure long term council tenancies now

• An immediate end to the decanting and evictions of existing residents

• No demolition of the estate

• The management of Carpenters Estate by the residents, for the residents, no third party or private management

This experience has shown us that there is a broad based movement for council housing in London. There are empty homes in every borough, every town and every city in the country. Focus E15 show us that there are simple, community based solutions to the housing crisis.

We will continue to fight displacement and evictions and to campaign for secure, council housing through direct action, mobilisation and legal means. See you on the streets, in the courtrooms and in our future actions.

This is the beginning of the end of the housing crisis.