Tag Archives: newham council

Mum and her baby allowed to stay on in B&B

The young woman and baby who was threatened with eviction from her B&B when she refused to be moved to the outskirts of Basildon (due to racist abuse) is no longer being evicted tomorrow, Tuesday 7 July.

Her case has been highlighted by Focus E15 campaign and other eviction resistance housing activists.

Today Newham council phoned her up to say that they will continue payment for the B&B until there is a decision from her appeal.

She will keep us updated on her housing situation.
She and her baby still need to be housed in a decent long term affordable stable home.

Onwards!
Keep up the pressure!
Social Housing! Not Social Cleansing!

Racist abuse in Basildon dismissed by Newham Council.

 

Focus E15 campaign met a woman on the weekly stall on 27 June. This is her  story:

I am a 23 year old single Muslim mother of a four month old daughter. I have an eviction notice for 7 July from the B&B we are in. After that day my baby daughter and I will be homeless.

During my pregnancy I was living in a hostel. I was depressed most of the time and I wasn’t eating well and I had pelvic problems which meant I wasn’t able to get out of bed or climb the stairs, and my room in the hostel was on the top floor. Once I gave birth, Newham Council placed me in a B&B, not really suitable for a young baby.

Now I face eviction because the council say that I have made myself intentionally homeless by rejecting an offer that they found to be suitable for me in Basildon, Essex.

I went to view the property in Basildon and had a terrible time while I was there with verbal racist abuse and being told to go back to the place I came from etc. They made me feel unsettled and scared, unwanted and inferior to them. I felt like I was nothing and since that day my depression and anxiety have got worse.When I told Newham Council, they said I was not physically abused, that it could have been a one off, and that this wasn’t a good enough reason to refuse as the offer was a suitable one and that I had to either take the property in Basildon or leave the B&B.

I have family and friends in Newham who help me since I gave birth. The council don’t listen and don’t care. I’m scared for my daughter. The day she was born I made a promise to myself. I made a promise to protect her and always make sure she is looked after and safe and secure, to always make sure she is warm and always smiling.

An eviction order has been sent to this young single mother and baby

Please share this story on Facebook and twitter. Tweet Newham Labour Council @newhamlondon

Details of eviction resistance on Tuesday 7 July to follow soon. Please check back

Friday’s protest for single mum postponed

Newham council has withdrawn the offer of temporary accommodation in Birmingham to a single Mother of 3 and cancelled her housing appointment on Friday 29 May, therefore she does not need people to stand with her at Bridge house.
We are awaiting news as to where she will be housed next by Newham council and hope that she will now be able to settle and bring up her children with support from her wider family.
Thank you for all the messages of solidarity. We will pass them on to this family.
It is clear that people need long term and properly affordable housing.

Social housing not social cleansing! Stop sending mothers and children away from their support networks!

CALLOUT. Newham council worker’s teen speaks out against evictions.

Join the Focus E15 campaign this Friday to  support  Nmah Kamara, her husband and children who have been evicted from their home and face being moved out of Newham.

Friday 22 May 9.30am
Outside Bridge House
320 High Street, Stratford, London E15 1EP

One of the children writes clearly and movingly how this will effect the whole family:

image

“After a long complicated housing story we have an Eviction Notice for the 22 May 2015 to leave our present and only accommodation at 8am but with nowhere to go.
If the Council relocate me from Newham at this stage of my life I will definitely fail to complete my education which is my future due to the physical, emotional and psychological transition I have to undergo, which is also true for my sister.
I have lived in Newham since my parents moved to Britain. My mum works for Newham Council.
My sister, brother and I have completed primary and secondary schools in Newham, we are now in further education (currently busy with projects and exams) and through UCAS we have already enrolled at Universities in London starting from 2015/16 with the hope that I will still live in Newham.
We have our friends and we are well associated with our borough making it very difficult to move away without affecting our continuity of education and network support”.

Please support this family on Friday. Social Housing! Not Social Cleansing!

Newham Council tries to intimidate the Focus E15 Campaign.

The Focus E15 campaign is appalled by the recent bullying tactics of Newham Labour council and the police who worked hand in hand to intimidate peaceful housing protesters involved in the ‘Jane Come Home’ political occupation. We proudly stand by Jane Wood who bravely reoccupied her home on Saturday 11 April after being tossed aside by Newham council. The flat was raided by police on Monday 13 April. It is clear that by arresting Jasmin Stone, one of the most prominent members of our campaign, the authorities in Newham are trying to intimidate us.
What happened?
Jane Wood, a Newham resident, was evicted from her flat by the council on the 24 of March alongside her 14 year old daughter. The eviction was a terrible shock for Jane, she had been living in the flat for 21 years. Now she was homeless. Jane decided that the only way that Newham council would listen to her was if she took direct action. On Saturday 11 April, with chants of ‘Jane Come Home’, we marched to a house-warming party in Jane’s old flat. The brief occupation of the flat was a joyfully defiant gesture attracting press attention. Jane was deeply touched by the support from the community around her who were quick to show their solidarity by bringing all types of food, furniture and cooking equipment into the occupied flat.

Jane Come Home. Stop the evictions!
Jane Come Home. Stop the evictions!

On the same day the local Labour MP, Lyn Brown, responding to growing pressure, tweeted that Jane should phone her. Jane did, twice, but only got an answermachine. By Monday 13 April the authorities in Newham were furious and running scared of the powerful message of direct action embodied by Jane and the other campaigners. The council then acted in the most underhand way possible: they asked Jane to attend a housing appointment, whilst at the same time unleashing police and council officials in order to break into the flat. A terrifying ordeal for the people left inside the flat.
After over ten minutes of violence, smashing through the front door, with children screaming, the police began intimidating the women – aggressive and threatening to take the children into care. It was at this point that Jasmin Stone from Focus E15 was arrested inside the flat, on suspicion of squatting, a ridiculous charge on many fronts especially when considering the council knows exactly where Jasmin lives. We have been advised that the police and council have acted unlawfully: they did not acquire a possession order from a court to enter the flat. Jane may also have had some rights as a former tenant but Newham Labour council just wanted to shut down the protest by any means possible. Fast.
Jasmin was taken in an unmarked police car to Waltham Forest Custody Centre outside which a growing crowd gathered. A banner was unfurled with the clear message ‘Free Jasmin Stone – Let Jane Come Home’. Whilst the solicitor negotiated inside, Focus E15 campaign supporters chanted, danced and sang outside.

Supporters of the Focus E15 Campaign celebrate after the release of Jasmin Stone
Supporters of the Focus E15 Campaign celebrate after the release of Jasmin Stone

Jasmin was greeted with a huge cheer when she stepped free from the custody centre, bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid May and banned from attending Jane’s former flat, a clear sign of the political nature of this arrest.

What about Jane? Jane’s first offer from the council was an uninhabitable temporary flat in a neighbouring borough that she rejected as unfit for her and her teenage daughter to live in. By the time of the next discussion with the council housing department, the staff had obviously seen the news and read the papers and started to make offers of a longer term council tenancy, this is yet to be confirmed.

The campaign is overwhelmed by all the support that has come flooding in since Jane’s second eviction and Jasmin’s release. Thank you to all those who have sent messages of solidarity. We will not be shaken in our belief that housing is a human right. Everyone deserves a decent home to live in.
No more evictions!
No to political intimidation!
Stop social cleansing!

Evicted by Newham Labour council after 20 years, we say Jane Come Home

Jane Come Home
Friends, family and campaigners support Jane outside her newly occupied flat

Jane is occupying her former council home as a political protest after she was evicted by Newham Labour council in March 2015. On Saturday 11th April, with full support from the Focus E15 campaign and many others, the doors of her former council flat were flung open and Jane threw a surprise house warming party. She was warmly welcomed back by her neighbours, family and friends. Jane was quick to hang up a newly made banner which states ‘Jane Come Home’ to the delight of her many well wishers and supporters who partied alongside her.

Jane has a daughter who is 14 years old. They were both evicted from their home on the 24 March 2015 after being a tenant of Newham council for 20 years. Another victim of the government’s harsh benefit sanctions, she fell into rent arrears when her Employment Support Allowance was suddenly stopped and her housing benefit cut. She was evicted because she owes the council about 5 months rent of £2,569 (this figure includes some court costs). She missed the court date due to a combination of depression, illiteracy and fear.

Help was in hand when her family offered to pay the full amount of rent owing but the council point blank refused the offer and said it was too late. On the day of the eviction Jane passed out with the stress and became another part of the tragic statistics for the amount of homeless families in Newham: almost 5,000 children are living in temporary accommodation. In the last two years alone, Newham has seen a 42 per cent increase in the amount of homeless familes, according to the  figures analysed by Labour MP Dame Tessa Jowell and released from the Department for Communities and Local Government. This injustice has to stop.People need homes. The council should start to address these shocking statistics by giving Jane and her daughter their home back.

After all, the amount or rent that is due is not much more than the monthly rent of one of the new luxury apartments that are mushrooming all over Stratford.We are asking the council to accept Jane’s family’s offer to pay the rent, clear the debt and allow Jane and her 14 year old daughter back into their home so that normal family life can resume. Jane’s daughter needs to attend her local school where she is due to sit her GCSEs.

After 50 years since Ken Loach made the film Cathy Come Home, we  are raising the issues of evictions and social cleansing in our community with the slogan Jane Come Home. Victory to Jane and all those who face the brutality of being ripped from their homes by council enforced bailiffs.

What you can do to help.

Contact Jane’s Labour MP Lyn Brown to ask her to put pressure on the council  for Jane to Come Home.

Telephone Lyn Brown: 0208 470 3463 Email: lyn@lynbrown.org.uk

Post: Lyn Brown, 306 High Street, Stratford, London, E15 1AJ

Tweet: @lynbrownmp

Share this story on  Facebook and twitter. Tweet Newham Labour Council @newhamlondon

Tweet the local councillor Terry Paul @terrympaul

Come to the next street stall on Saturday April 18th, on the Broadway outside Wilkos from 12pm-2pm in Stratford and then our open campaign meeting afterwards at the Carpenters Arms pub.

Article in the Huffington post hits the spot

“Our campaign is one led by women most affected by the ongoing austerity which is tearing families from their homes and making countless people street-homeless. We are directly challenging our Labour council and the wider government. We’re angry, organised and are demanding change!” Read the rest of the article  about the Focus E15 campaign written by Saskia O Hara in the Huffington Post

Robin Wales, mayor of Newham, guilty of breaching Members Code of Conduct

PRESS RELEASE
Focus E15 Campaign                                                2 February 2015

Robin Wales, mayor of Newham, guilty of breaching Members Code of Conduct

Newham Labour mayor Robin Wales has been found guilty of breaching the council’s Members Code of Conduct after investigation by the Newham Standards Committee into treatment of Focus E15 campaigners last summer.

The investigation was sparked by an official complaint, submitted by local resident and activist Kevin Blowe [1], after he watched footage (below) of Robin Wales which showed his aggressive verbal and physical response to the Focus E15 mothers and supporters of the campaign. This took place last July at the Newham Mayor’s Show [2].

RW restrained YouTube screenshot

This is a victory for the many people who have been the target of Robin Wales’ arrogant and rude behaviour and who have witnessed the contempt that he has for working class people in his borough over the last 13 years as mayor. However, Wales runs a tight ship and has managed to keep most of the criticism of him out of the public spotlight, including through attempts to muzzle critical Labour backbenchers  [3]. So while this isn’t the first time that Robin Wales has behaved badly, it is one of the first times that he has had been held to account for the way in which he treats people.

Robin Wales, and his cronies at the council, continue their policy of social cleansing, sending people out of London to homes miles from friends, family and support networks, while leaving the Carpenters Estate in Stratford E15 mostly empty with perfectly adequate flats boarded up.

Focus E15 campaign continues to highlight the outcome of this policy that tears communities and families apart and demands the repopulation of the Carpenters Estate.

In the year when Newham is celebrating 50 years as a borough, we say that Robin Wales is not fit to be mayor and it is now time for him to go.

You can find the campaign on the Broadway, outside Wilko, Stratford E15, every Saturday from 12-2pm on the weekly stall. www.focuse15.org

For interviews please email focusE15london@gmail.com or phone 07469 889 069.

[1] http://www.blowe.org.uk/2015/01/newham-mayor-guilty-of-breaching.html?m=1 
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsPxancNiqk&x-yt-cl=85114404&x-yt-ts=1422579428
[3] http://forestgate.net/2014/11/12/gagging-order/

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.’

Focus E15 campaign helps homeless Newham Council employee and her three children left in police station lobby overnight

On Friday morning, Zineb, a single mother of three who works part-time for Newham Council was evicted by a private landlord, leaving the family with nowhere to go.

Zineb went to Newham Council’s Bridge House at 11am to declare the family homeless at which point she was offered temporary accommodation two hours outside of London. Upon rejecting the offer because of what it would mean for her job and her eldest daughter’s school, she was deemed to have made herself intentionally homeless.

She refused to leave Bridge House and council workers called the police, who took her to Forest Gate police station where the family had no choice but to stay overnight, in the lobby, sleeping on the floor. The next day she came to the Focus E15 campaign stall and asked for help. We immediately put a message out to our networks and were able to find emergency accommodation in Newham for the weekend.

On Monday 19 January people from Focus E15 campaign will be accompanying Zineb and her children to Bridge House and expect Newham Council to find accommodation for this mother and Newham employee in reasonable reach of work and school.

Join us on Monday 19 January at 9am at Bridge House, 320 High Street, Stratford, London E15 1EP

The message is clear – NO TO SOCIAL CLEANSING