Monday 22 May, Newham’s annual full council meeting in the Old Town Hall Stratford.
Focus E15 campaign joined members of London Renters Union (LRU) and PEACH outside the town hall. With placards, banners and flags flying there were speeches and chants on the megaphone. It was lively and militant. Every councillor who went in got a leaflet about the LRU campaign SafeHomesNow. Newham council must take action against landlords who rent unsafe homes, who don’t respond to tenants’ issues and who share details with the Home Office of a tenant who is a migrant.
We are now near the end of May 2023 – the month when the Labour Mayor and council promised that every family with children would have moved out of 10 Victoria Street. But no, over 50 families are still stuck in the substandard overcrowded inappropriate accommodation, sharing beds, no space to play, and with no space to do homework.
So we decided to go in to the meeting to make sure all the councillors and members of the public present are up to date with this matter. They would have preferred to have continued the chats in the corridor but we thought it time to go in with people directly effected by housing insecurity and living in overcrowded housing misery.
As instructed, members of the town hall security staff were heavy-handed and pushed pulled and dragged the protesters out. After the meeting resumed, Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz was forced to comment, reaffirming her commitment to move families with children out from Victoria Street, with all the excuses the council repeatedly gives as to why it is so difficult, and then spoke of the millions of pounds the council is going to spend for ‘option appraisals’ and the ‘reconceptualising of the building’ at 10 Victoria Street.
We chanted Deeds not Words as we left the council chamber, our heads held high, determined to fight on for housing justice for all.
If you want to take action on housing, join Focus E15 campaign on the weekly Saturday stall 12-2pm outside Wilko’s on Stratford Broadway, follow us on facebook for the latest information about meetings and events.
Look up London Renters Union and support their demands to the council: