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!