Monthly Archives: February 2016

Latest News from Focus E15 Campaign

Focus E15 campaign on the streets every Saturday
join us on the stall 12-2pm outside Wilko’s on the Broadway, Stratford E15

Saturday 27 February – campaign meeting 2.30-4.30pm
Bryant Street Methodist Church, Bryant Street, E15 4RU

Street homelessness on the increase…
Last week on the stall we met Charlie who is 20 years old and has been homeless for two years.
Read about him on our blog.
https://focuse15.org/2016/02/21/rough-sleeper-found-in-doorway-of-newhams-housing-office/

This article was published in the Guardian today
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/25/homeless-number-people-sleeping-rough-england-rises-almost-a-third-in-a-year
The number of people sleeping rough in England on any one night has doubled since 2010 and increased by 30% in the last year, with an estimated 3,569 people now sleeping on the streets across England, according to new government figures.

Social cleansing – fight for decent housing for those sent to Boundary House in Welwyn Garden City
Newham has sent families with young children to appalling overcrowded bedsits in Welwyn Garden City – read this piece by Kate Belgrave and come and support Elina, one of the last residents in Boundary House, fighting for her and her children’s right to decent accommodation near her support networks. Don’t let these families fight alone, make our disgust public.
http://www.katebelgrave.com/2016/02/the-one-where-the-council-officer-hangs-up-the-phone-on-a-homeless-woman/

Brimstone House / Focus E15 hostel, where Focus E15 campaign originated with the collective strength of the single mothers facing social cleansing, has East Thames Housing Association residents who were placed there originally by Newham Council as vulnerable young adults in need of supported living. Those remaining have now received threatening High Court letters about bailiffs. Newham cannot wash their hands of these young people and must house them locally. Join Focus E15 campaign to give them support and make our outrage known.

Cuts budget unanimously approved by Labour councillors
Having thought about all that – think of Robin Wales, mayor of Newham and his cuts budget.
On 22 February Newham Labour council met with a full public gallery of…16 people. After the handpicked 16 had entered the public gallery, the rest were put in the Lister Room with a screen to see the procedings. Very distorted sound meant difficulty understanding all the contributions. If it wasn’t for Councillor Clark who spoke of the housing crisis with rising temporary accommodation, unsutainable cost of temporary accommodation and the people moved out of borough and out of London, then housing would hardly have been mentioned by Labour Mayor Robin Wales. He spoke of his new proposal of ‘Fairer Rent’ due to come in, blamed the problems on the asuterity programme from our Tory government and promised that there would be no cuts in meaningful services, lots of money for improving roads, pavements and lighting and patted himself on the back saying he was ‘proud of this outstanding budget’. It was agreed unanimously by all the councillors present. Somehow they have reduced a £54m cuts to £37m cuts and all seemed happy with the plan to cut the back services without affecting frontline services (how?) and that Robin Wales will review anything that is brought to him.

Well we have to bring things to Robin Wales’ attention – the homelessness, those being sent out of Newham away from family, friends, schools and support networks, the vicious Housing Bill and the Immigration Bill and the 400 empty homes on the Carpenters Estate that must be used immediately to house people in need.

In Neighbouring Walthamstow, 63 properties from Butterfields estate, recently bought by property company Butterfields E17, are being advertised for sale as empty properties while tenants are still there, some who have lived there for decades.
http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/14283428.Protests_over_evictions_from_housing_estate_after_charity_sells_on_to_developers/

Come to our stalls and meetings, add your ideas for action, support those struggling for housing in your area and let’s get together, solidarity is strength.

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Rough sleeper found in doorway of Newham’s housing office.

Charlie is 20 years old and has been homeless for over 2 years and he has now been street homeless  for 7 months.  He is originally from Southend and became homeless after his mother told him to leave the family house and not come back.

charlie
Charlie in the centre who has been left to sleep rough by Newham council

Charlie  has been sleeping in the doorway of Bridge House housing office in Stratford, as this is where he felt most safe at night. After a few weeks of seeing Charlie sleeping rough, the security guard brought someone from the housing office to see him.  This housing officer told Charlie there was nothing that could be done to help him because he is not ‘priority need’ which was the same line  he was fed in Southend.   Bear in mind that Southend council spent millions on the new pier and Newham council have left 3 tower blocks on the Carpenters Estate virtually empty for several years.

However, a week later Charlie received good news: he was told by a housing officer at Bridge House that in fact they may be able to find him somewhere to live after all.  They took his phone number and said they would be in touch. He immediately got his hopes up.

That was over 6 weeks ago now and Charlie has heard nothing since.  He still remains on the streets of Newham and is just one of the growing number of  rough sleepers in London:  last year 7,000 people slept rough in London.

Focus E15 campaign met Charlie on our weekly street stall when he came to sign our petition and buy a social housing badge. It is unacceptable that  a young man like Charlie remains vulnerable on the streets whilst at the same time thousands and thousands of homes in the capital lie empty.

“Homelessness is a devastating experience with significant impacts for an individual’s health and wellbeing. Mental and physical health problems can be caused or exacerbated by rough sleeping. Homelessness is also dangerous, with homeless people 13 times more likely to be a victim of crime than the general public. Shockingly, the average age of death for a homeless person is just 47 –  30 years younger than the national average.” St Mungo’s

Newham council must make sure our young people are safe and can move forward with their lives.
House Charlie now and stop making people homeless!

Social Housing not Social Cleansing!

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