Focus E15 campaigners were thrilled that Sara won her right to appeal against Newham Council after a victorious appearance in court on Thursday 26 July. The council had said that Sara had made herself ‘intentionally homeless’ for refusing to give up her life in Newham where she has a job, where her children go to school and where all her family and support networks are, after she rejected an offer of a place outside of London. We were very surprised that this case had even gone to court as we have been highlighting this case to Newham council for over 6 months.
Focus E15 campaign strongly believe that families and communities must stay together to be strong and connected. Mental health distress is becoming all too common due to rising levels of housing insecurity and homelessness. After the court ruling Newham council have promised to review Sara’s case. If their review is favourable, then the decision to discharge their legal duty to house Sara will be withdrawn. If their review is not favourable, then the discharge decision will stand, but Sara will be entitled to proceed with an appeal against that decision. Focus E15 campaign will continue to support Sara, ensuring that she has access to legal advice and representation. Watch the report on RT below.
We say loud and clear that there is NO such thing as intentional homelessness!
What is happening at Brimstone house?
Focus E15 campaign have been continuing to highlight the unsuitable living conditions at the former Focus E15 hostel, now owned by Newham council and renamed as Brimstone house. GRIMstone house may be a more fitting name for it because so many vulnerable adults and children are living in cramped and overcrowded conditions.
The stories we heard from residents on Saturday 28 July at an organised campaign fun day were alarming. One women we spoke to is being evicted imminently. She has a daughter who is disabled. The only advice she has been given is to go to the charity Shelter upon eviction. She has no idea what will happen.
Another man we spoke to who is in a wheelchair is living in a flat that is not designed in an accessible manner – so much so that he cannot wash in his bathroom and travels to a disabled centre in Newham to take a shower. This is not on and surely cannot be even legal?
There has been no change to the prison-like atmosphere of visitors having to sign in to see friends and being vetted. Outrageously, the other issues are the continuous difficulties for disabled occupants to gain access to their own accommodation as the door entry system requires fob access. As there is still restrictions placed on friends’ or relatives’ visits, they can not stay overnight even when essential for support.
We have alerted the Mayor and relevant councillors who promise that a site visit will take place and that a meeting will be held to listen to residents concerns. The council may need to provide free legal advice in order for these residents to get the housing justice that they deserve.
We can’t help thinking that the best long term security for these residents would be on the Carpenters Estate. Watch this space for updates on resident meetings over the next few weeks and stay tuned for further updates on Sara’s case. In the meantime, see you on the streets in August outside Wilko’s on Saturday’s between 12-2pm (NB no street stall on 4th August).