Tag Archives: East Thames Housing Association

Focus E15 hostel residents speak out again

Poor conditions and evictions continue to plague Focus E15 building, despite what Newham Council says.

Focus E15 building has been bought by Newham council and Newham Council’s media team have responded with a comment to Sam and Jasmin’s post about this purchase. In this comment (only posted on the Campaign’s website) the council tries to negate all the reasons why the mothers from Focus E15 hostel had to fight for their right to stay in the city in 2013 when Newham Council were evicting people out of London. It was this, alongside hastily revoked eviction letters from East Thames Housing Association, which was the spark that lit the Focus E15 Campaign for decent housing for all.

After the campaign occupied empty flats on the Carpenters Estate in 2014 to highlight the outrage of hundreds of available homes left empty for years, Robin Wales was forced to make an apology in the Guardian newspaper for the way the mothers were treated. Two years on, Newham Council has said that it has bought Focus E15 building ‘to provide homes for those who need them most’.

However  the Campaign has recently spoken to residents who say that some continue to be threatened with eviction whilst others are stuck in the squalid, cramped, inappropriate rooms of the Focus E15 building. People with complex mental health issues who have been shunted around by Newham council for years are facing an uncertain future.

As one resident who spoke to the campaign said:

“I should be living. This is not living. This is just existing… That is Newham Council for you. They’ve destroyed my life.”

Help support the residents of Focus E15 building who are speaking out.

Come to our campaign meeting, Saturday 7 May, 2.30-4.30pm, Sylvia’s Corner, 97 Aldworth Road E15 4DN.

Decent secure housing for all!    Stop evictions!      Stop social cleansing!

 

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Stuck in limbo at Focus E15 hostel

Danila Caetano, a 22 year old with a 13 month old baby, came to the Focus E15 campaign street stall on Saturday 4 July. She  has been living at Focus E15 hostel since 2011. This hostel is where the original group of mums started the Focus E15 campaign.

This is Danila’s story.
I am a single mum. Single mums get  judged unfairly. The local authorities do not care about single mothers or their children.
Living at Focus hostel is difficult with a young child, the flat is very small and cramped. The baby does not have enough space. I am living in one room really. I have a table next to my bed where we can eat. It is dangerous for the baby and when you have repairs needed to be done it takes East Thames ages to fix it. I had no hot water for the first 6 months of my pregnancy. They don’t care.
I have suffered from depression. When you bring a child into the world you want to give her a decent life. I am so unhappy that my child is living in a cramped situation.The hostel is not suitable for children.
I have lived in Newham since 2008. I have family and friends here. I am studying at Newham college and my baby goes to nursery in Newham. I would have no support network if I was to be moved out of London. It is already hard being a single mum and I would struggle to live somewhere else.
Danila is one of many young residents of Focus E15 foyer, stuck in limbo, neither evicted nor given the support to be able to move out and fearful that they will be sent out of London as Newham continues to carry out social cleansing.
Newham Council and East Thames Housing Association need to work together to house the young people and children of Focus E15 hostel in decent, long term, affordable and appropriate housing.
Eye-witness report from Focus E15 hostel
On 25 June there was a fight that led to the reception area being covered with blood and glass.
The father of a family of four, all living in Focus E15 hostel, told Focus E15 campaign that it wasn’t until 4 July, nine days later, that the floor was cleaned. In his words:
 This shows the utter disregard that Newham Council and their business partners (East Thames and Tando) have for the residents of Focus E15 hostel. Children and families are being exposed to unhealthy conditions on a daily basis. I do not think that the place is suitable for young people to grow up in and this constitutes child cruelty of the highest order in a developed society.
Contact the following people to voice your concern:
Yvonne Arrowsmith, chief executive of East Thames – yvonne.arrowsmith@east-thames.co.uk
Terry Paul, councillor Stratford – terence_paul@hotmail.com
Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham – brownl@parliament.uk; lyn@lynbrown.org.uk
Florence Bangboye housing officer – Florence.bamgboye@newham.gov.uk
Robin Wales – Mayor of Newham -mayor@newham.gov.uk

Rehouse the residents from Focus E15 hostel! Stop destroying the lives of young people.

On Monday 15th June demonstrate outside Focus E15 hostel, Brimstone House, Victoria Street, Stratford, E15 4NX at 1.45pm and tell Newham Council and East Thames Housing Association to rehouse all the young people in the hostel who are facing an insecure future. Read our letter below which has information about what has been happening to the residents. We are sending a copy of this letter to:

Yvonne Arrowsmith, chief executive of East Thames – yvonne.arrowsmith@east-thames.co.uk
Terry Paul, councillor Stratford – terence_paul@hotmail.com
Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham – brownl@parliament.uk; lyn@lynbrown.org.uk
Florence Bangboye housing officer -Florence.bamgboye@newham.gov.uk
Robin Wales – Mayor of Newham -mayor@newham.gov.uk

COPY OF THE LETTER FOLLOWS.
We are writing on behalf of Focus E15 campaign in support of the single residents in the Focus E15 hostel in Victoria Street, E15, who are in a very unsettling and frightening period with respect to the future of their housing situation.

The 99 young people left in Focus E15 foyer are being told that they have to move out in the next few months. They have visited Lyn Brown, MP, Terry Paul, councillor, have met with people from the council and from East Thames and of course are in contact with their support workers. They are being pushed from pillar to post, getting mixed messages and no answers. Many of the residents struggle with depression and anxiety, which is made worse by the lack of proper support in what is meant to be supported housing for vulnerable young people.

Currently every time a young person does move out of Focus E15 foyer they are not replaced. Instead families or older residents, who are told to pay more rent for the same size room, to a different landlord are being moved in. Is East Thames trying to wash their hands of all the vulnerable young people at the hostel?

At a recent Move On meeting, the young residents were told to look for properties in the privately-rented sector, but the only landlords they found who will accept DSS also want a guarantor who earns over £35,000. None of the young residents have contact with such a person. The young people in Focus E15 foyer do not have family that they can go back to.

They have been told that without full housing benefit they can only expect to have a room in a shared house with people they don’t know. The background experiences of most of the young people in Focus E15, housed there due to previous difficulties and need for support, means that they feel very anxious about the concept of living with strangers. With the upper limit being £73 a week, it is almost impossible to find somewhere in Newham and they face the frightening alternative of having to move miles away from all support and familiarity.

We are asking East Thames and Newham council to work together to find an urgent acceptable solution to the housing plight of these young vulnerable people from Focus E15 foyer. They want to move their lives forward in a positive way, they want to live independently.They want to be in training or employment.

We know that East Thames prides itself on providing social housing and that Newham council has empty properties that should be opened up and used for housing.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Focus E15 campaign organising committee.