Tag Archives: carpenters road estate

Why we are marching against evictions

You are invited to the second  anniversary birthday of the Focus E15 campaign for decent housing for all. Join us to March Against Evictions 12pm Saturday 19 September 2015 at Stratford Park, West Ham Lane, London E15 4PT.
Bring whistles, horns, sound systems, drums and pots and pans!
We will not be cleansed and we will not be silenced!
Campaigner and Focus E15 mother Jasmin Stone said:
“The housing crisis continues, with no major political party offering viable solutions. 126 families are evicted every day across the country. We continue to demand the repopulation of the Carpenters Estate, an immediate end to decanting and evictions of residents from the Estate, long term and secure tenancies for all, and of course, social housing, not social cleansing.

In the two years the Focus E15 campaign has gone from strength to strength, with a weekly street stall in Stratford, and occupations of East Thames Housing Association show flat, an open top bus with petitions for Boris Johnson and regular challenges to Labour Mayor Robin Wales – all contributing towards to the growing national profile of housing activists. Last year the Focus E15 campaign sprung to national attention during the two-week occupation of empty homes on the Carpenters Estate in September 2014.

Campaigners gather at the weekly street stall in Stratford to demand decent housing
Campaigners gather at the weekly street stall in Stratford to demand decent housing

This year, join us for a vibrant afternoon of marching, music and noise for people of all ages. Be sure to bring whistles, horns, sound systems, drums and pots and pans. We will not be cleansed and not be silenced. We will continue to expose the reality of the housing crisis. Join us! Make your voices heard on the open mic throughout the march!

At the end of the march we will meet on the Carpenters Estate, the site of the 2014 Focus E15 Open House occupation, to highlight that it is full of perfectly good social housing that has been emptied and boarded up because Newham council wants to sell off the land to a private developer.

 We will finish on the Carpenters Estate with a finale to give solidarity to the more than 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the last three years.
When and where?
Assemble: 12pm
Saturday 19 September Stratford Park, West Ham Lane, London E15 4PT

For those who want to join us for the last part of the march, meet us at Bridge House, 320 Stratford High St, E15 1EP. We will be arriving there at around 1.30-1.45pm.
Nearest station: Stratford overground,tube, and DLR
Stratford
Buses: 25, 86, 69, 104, 262, 238

Hashtags we will be using on the day are #MarchAgainstEvictions and #housingcrisis

Newham council housing office locks out residents

On 26 March housing activists from the Focus E15 campaign, HASL and FRFI joined together outside Bridge House, which is the housing office in Stratford E15 (in the London borough of Newham) to support Shelica, a homeless single mother of two. The Focus E15 campaign met Shelica at our weekly street stall  in Stratford and offered to support her. She had been told she was likely to be moved out of London to Hastings and would never come back. This is Newham Labour council operating a policy of social cleansing.

Social cleansing causes a great deal of distress for the people targeted.Such a move for Shelica, away from her family and support networks would  prove to be disastrous for her and her two young children, almost certainly leading to social isolation and stress.  However under pressure and with publicity, the council changed its mind and realised that they could find temporary accommodation for Shelica in London after all.

See the  video below with an interview with Shelica:

During the protest, all the housing activists acted peacefully and made sure that anyone going into the housing office was allowed to do so. We are extremely concerned that Bridge House decided to shut down the housing office, turning its back on Newham residents in housing need. Newham Labour council is also responsible for boarding up flats on the Carpenters Estate, which is right next to the housing office. These homes need people.

Social housing! Not social cleansing!

Victory! A home in Newham is found for Zineb and her children.

The Focus E15 campaign is thrilled that Newham Council has found appropriate local accommodation for Zineb and her three children. The family had spent a sleepless night on the floor of the local police station, following their eviction on Friday 16th January.

Then, after being placed in an unheated and distant hostel in Barnet, Zineb, a council employee and single parent working for minimum wage, was rehoused in reasonable reach of her job and her eldest child’s school. The family can now begin to resettle their lives, following the shock of their eviction last Friday.

However, as the Council is paying the family’s rent to a private landlord, wider questions remain about the hundreds of empty homes on  the Carpenters Estate (council owned), and in the Focus E15 hostel (managed by East Thames Housing Association). Public money is being put into the hands of private landlords during emergencies like this one, while publicly-owned homes remain empty. Zineb’s new flat is a great win for the family, but the bigger issue of poor and working people being pushed out of their homes and their communities remains critical.

We will continue to stand with one another to make sure Newham remains a place where everyone is truly able to ‘live, work, stay.’

Russia Today gets in on the action

They wrote:

Protesting against the lack of affordable social housing in an East London borough, a group of 29 homeless single mothers and their children have occupied a block of flats to demand action on the city’s housing crisis.

The group, calling itself “Focus E15,” complained that an estate in Stratford was almost empty, having been cleared by the local council, while increasing numbers of local people could not afford to buy or rent a home.

The women said people were facing homelessness and displacement due to the lack of affordable and social housing in London. They called for “social housing, not social cleansing”.

For the full report click here

The Newham Recorder reports on our occupation

The local reporter, Mike Brook, wrote:

Members of the Focus E15 campaign used the occupation on Stratford’s Carpenter’s Estate next to the Olympic Park to try and shame Town Hall bosses over leaving “perfectly habitable” homes empty for years.

They accused Newham Council of shipping families from the estate out of London, leaving homes vacant in site of the Olympic Stadium.

“The estate has 2,000 empty council homes due to the decision to sell off the land to a private developer,” said Focus E15’s Jasmine Stone.

For the full article click here

A great Guardian report on our occupation & political inaction

Special thanks to Aditya Chakrabortty for this great report that got the rest of the media following in herds. He wrote:

This weekend, while commentators yawped on about local democracy, and Ed Miliband vowed he’d close the chasm between the rich and the rest of us by a whole couple of centimetres, a bunch of young women in east London just got on and did it.

They began with a Sunday afternoon fun day, the mothers laying on facepainting and some Sister Sledge. What jarred was the location: the Carpenters estate, next to the Olympic village, was long ago cleared of most of its residents as Newham council tried to flog the land.

Except the last deal fell through, leaving around 600 council homes empty. This is in a borough where more than 24,000 households are waiting for somewhere to live, and where, last winter, the shopping precinct was full of rough sleepers.

To read the full article click here

A communist report on the street party & occupation

Amidst a ‘Fun Day’, organised to celebrate the one year anniversary of the campaign, supporters of the campaign occupied four properties on the Carpenters Estate, which the local Labour council has earmarked for demolition and redevelopment.

With Newham’s Labour Mayor away at the Labour Party conference, an occasion which saw Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls reassert Labour’s commitment to savage service cuts – ‘balancing the books’ -, what better time to step up the fightback against cuts, social cleansing and gentrification?

Hundreds of people were invited to tour the homes, which the campaign has set up as the E15 Social Centre – a place for the community to discuss housing, social cleansing and gentrification.

To read the full report click here

They also put this video together of the day..

A local blogger reports on street party & occupation

carpenters rd est occupation 21/9/14Glenn McMahon reported:

The party atmosphere at the community event was in stark contrast to the boarded up houses that looked down upon it. However, amid a drum roll and loud cheers a ribbon was cut to announce the opening of a four-flat block.

The campaigners said they will clean up and reuse the space to hold workshops to highlight the plight of those being left behind by the government’s ideologically driven policies including austerity and to educate one-another on how to fight back.

Jasmine, a member of the E15Focus group, said: “We wanted to make people aware that while we were being evicted from our hostel perfectly good homes have been boarded up for no good reason other than to write them off to be demolished so they can build luxury apartments.”

To read the whole of Glenn’s report click here

He also made this brief video of the day…

Public sector blogger Kate Belgrave on occupation & empty homes

“The Focus E15 mothers’ social housing campaign took the admirable step of reopening some of the long-boarded-up flats on the Carpenters’ estate. I hope news of this move has reached those Labour councillors and MPs who are all tucked up nice and warm at conference in Manchester.”

To read the full blog post click here

E15Focus mum Sam Middleton tells Kate why we occupied the flats.

 

A truly happy birthday

carpenters road estate 21/9/14A big thanks to everyone who joined us for our first anniversary street party in the sad but lovely Carpenters Road Estate, in Newham, East London.

Yes, it’s been a whole year since we were evicted from the women’s hostel we were living in and told we would have to leave London prompting us to set-up this campaign to call for safe and secure housing for everyone.

So to celebrate we held a family street party for our friends, supporters and the residents who have resisted being kicked off the estate. Much fun was had with music, games, speeches and food before we finished off a special surprise – liberating four of the empty flats that were once – and still should be – someone’s home.

So for now we have turned the space into a social centre where we invite you to come and learn, teach and share at the numerous workshops and events lined up. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for the latest news.