Brimstone house in Stratford in Newham East London is the name of the former Focus E15 hostel. Conditions have changed very little since Robin Wales closed down the mother and baby unit there 5 years ago. Families are still living in temporary, overcrowded accommodation, unsure of how long they will be left there and extremely worried about being evicted and being sent out of London altogether by Newham council. Focus E15 campaign believe that residents from Brimstone house need to be rehoused in their community close to their support networks and this is what residents are demanding.
The stressful eviction process should stop- however families must not be left in prison like conditions for years on end! Suitable accommodation must be found (even if that means the Council opening up empty properties in the borough) as big, bold solutions are urgently needed to provide Newham residents with long term housing.
Residents have come up with demands which were discussed and given to the Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz and John Gray, Cabinet Member for Housing at a significant meeting that took place at Stratford Town Hall on Saturday 27 October.
- Open the conservatory space in Brimstone House for communal use and open the locked children’s park next door.
- Review the security procedures so that they protect the residents instead of punishing/hindering them
- More washing machines should be provided at no extra cost to residents with an aim of creating a community run launderette with an attendant.
Below are wider demands (however residents would still like to see action on these before Christmas!):
- No more evictions from Brimstone house until safe, suitable accommodation is found in Newham, like Carpenters Estate
- To recognise that everyone has the right to refuse accommodation outside of the borough without being labelled as ‘intentionally homeless’ (sic). End the use of this policy!
- Stop threats from council workers to involve social services (i.e if you made yourself ‘intentionally homeless’ we will rehouse your children but not you).
Housing should be seen a basic right in a rich country like ours.
Victory to Brimstone house residents in their fight for decent long term housing!