Almost a year ago, in June 2022, at a full Newham council meeting in east London, Labour Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz publicly referred to the annual council meeting the previous month, when residents of 10 Victoria Street, Brimstone House bravely stood up to protest against their appalling living conditions. The Mayor’s words at this meeting were:
‘I have provided a clear undertaking and direction to the council that by May 2023 every family will have been moved out to alternative accommodation and we will be stopping the placement of families with children living there from May.’ She added that ‘over the coming months officers will be diligently working on every case’.
Now it is nearing the end of April 2023 and almost 60 families with children are still in the building and the Mayor and Director of Housing have admitted that they will not all be moved out by the end of May. They have gone back on their pledge.
10 Victoria Street is filthy, overcrowded, unfit for families, where toddlers’ development is held back, older children have to do homework on the floor or the bed, children and parents are forced to share the bed to sleep and tiny spaces are labelled one-bedroom flats and therefore don’t qualify as being overcrowded.
The Labour council says it is facing the most challenging housing need. But breaking promises to desperate families who held hope for ten months of something better, hits an all time low.
Labour local authority landlords like Newham have presided over some of the biggest sell offs of council homes, while also overseeing managed decline and demolition of others. While housing associations, who own and manage 60% of social housing stock in England and Wales, repeatedly fail to address damp, mould and disrepair and yet make millions of pounds in profits every year.
Watch this video clip of Roksana Fiaz referring to the promises that are now being broken: https://youtu.be/TT4kTR37SMY?t=1560
Read the recent expose by Michael Buchanan on the BBC’s website about 1000s of children forced to share beds with their parents and the terrible effects that overcrowding has on family life, featuring Focus E15 campaigners and fighters for housing justice: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-65312086
Focus E15 campaign stands with those who raise their voice on behalf of everyone who faces substandard housing. The campaign is working with residents, legal caseworkers and journalists to raise the issue of poor quality housing by taking action, creating political art and giving people the confidence to speak out about what is happening.
Overcrowding is bad for our health!
Newham Labour Council no more broken promises, rehouse the families of 10 Victoria Street, Brimstone House now
Join Focus E15 campaign on our weekly stall in Stratford Broadway E15, 12-2pm every Saturday.