Recently some of our campaigners travelled to Welwyn Garden City to meet people who have been sent out of Newham. We were shocked at the conditions that families with children are expected to live in. The rents a very high, even for just one room and people are really struggling financially. It is a grim reality for those who find themselves without their support networks when their children are unwell or when they need help.
Read the stories of Luis and Elina and their families below, examples of the many families forced out of Newham to Welwyn Garden City. Luis has a housing meeting on Monday 14 December, check our facebook page for updates on Luis after the meeting.
People are being moved out of Newham in a process which is being referred to as social cleansing. Last year over 400 families were moved out of Newham. Recently we me Luis who was sent to Welwyn Garden City. Luis made the journey down to meet us on our street stall because his housing situation is desperate and he does not know what will happen next. He worries about the future. He lives with his partner and four children in damp, cramped and inappropriate accommodation: the family is split up between two studio flats, which is not suitable for family life.
Newham council placed them in this accommodation over two years ago along with many other families. All the flats in his block have problems with damp and are very expensive to rent. Newham Labour Council is still responsible for the fate of all these families in terms of housing.
It is an impossible situation for Luis because his rent has just gone up and he is expected to pay council tax twice over (on each of the studio flats). With mounting arrears, Luis doesn’t stand a chance financially.The stress on living like this is taking its toll on several members of the family because Newham council has said that Luis will be making himself ‘intentionally homeless’ if he does not pay the increased weekly rent. No father would make his family intentionally homeless – Luis just needs a chance to get his life back in order and live in accommodation that is suitable and healthy for his children.
Luis wants to solve his housing issues and has pressed for a meeting with Newham’s housing officer and has been given a meeting on Monday 14 December at 10.30am at Bridge House in Stratford E15.
Focus E15 campaign supports Luis and his family and their right to decent, affordable, long term, secure housing in Newham which is where they were living, where they have connections and support. Never let it be forgotten that the Carpenters Estate has over 400 empty homes and there are many people who needs these homes today.
Solidarity with Luis and all those in housing difficulty.
No one is intentionally homeless!
Stop social cleansing!
Update from Elina in Welwyn Garden City
I am single mum with 3 small children. I have been sent to Welwyn Garden city by Newham Council as a result of social cleansing. Not only am I am battling with my housing situation but I have been asking the agency (who runs the building where I am housed and are called Theory Ltd), to repair or replace my washing machine. Theory Ltd often fail to do repairs or take a very long time. The first time it took 6 months to fix my washing machine.
The closest public laundrette is 40 minutes away from the flat. At the moment I am having problems with my washing machine again. It is in the same room where we all live, eat and sleep. Its making a very loud noise and is scaring the kids. There is damage to the drum and it needs to be fixed or replaced I think.
I reported the problem to the agency about 2 weeks ago. Today I called them again and a woman in the agency told me there is nothing on their files about this problem. When I called Newham council a man told me that if there is a problem with the washing machine he will ask the agency to remove it but it is not their responsibility to provide us with another one. I can not afford to get another one and with children there is always so much washing to be done.
I think that Newham council does not care about the people who voted for them. They and the housing agency get payed well. Yet we can’t afford very basic things like washing machines.