- Created: Thursday, 17 January 2013 15:13
- Written by Jimmy Mac
The Counihan-Sanchez Housing Campaign (CSHC) plans to broaden our campaign for housing for the Counihan family and against cuts and evictions in Brent in 2013. In November 2012 we won our first victory in our battle with Brent Labour council, who have been forced to reinstate the Housing Benefit which Brent withdrew from the family when they declared them ‘intentionally homeless’ in April 2012.
At our last meeting the CSHC agreed the following objectives :
- To secure social housing for the Counihans in Brent
- To support and defend all Brent residents made homeless or facing eviction by Brent Council
- To link up with other anti-cuts groups in Brent and NW London and coordinate activity
We demand that Brent Council must:
- Oppose all cuts AND set a needs budget based on engaging Brent public, community groups, trade unions
- Cap rents in Brent at an affordable rate and prevent profiteering by rogue landlords
- Build genuinely affordable housing for working class people in our area.
- Take into public ownership all properties in Brent that have been vacant for over a year, with compensation to be paid only on the basis of proven need
- Campaign for a genuine living wage in Brent
1. No evictions pledge launched
The CSHC has launched a pledge for all Brent councillors to sign stating that they won’t enforce evictions in Brent. The pledge reads:
‘I pledge not to support any eviction proceedings against Brent residents who haven fallen into arrears due to recent changes in benefit rules.
I fully support the anti cuts campaigns in Brent and I will actively support a campaign of mass resistance to this government’s cuts programme.’
2. Taking it to the streets
The CSHC stared the new year in fine style when 20 people supported the street stall at Kilburn Square on Saturday 5 January. Banners were displayed by CSHC, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, the campaign to Free Mumia abu Jamal and Boycott Workfare, showing the breadth of involvement in the campaign.
Every week at Kilburn Square we meet people who have been evicted in Brent and our presence every Saturday gives local people confidence that there is an organisation in Kilburn that is serious about fighting cuts and evictions.
The CSHC has also supported events for Justice for the 33 RMT agency workers sacked by London Underground and in solidarity with disabled prisoner Daniel Roque Hall.
3. Brent Councillors challenged by CSHC at meetings
At the Brent Labour Representation Committee meeting on 7 January Isabel and Sarah Counihan challenged the Labour leader of Brent Council, Muhammed Butt on his record of making people homeless. Disgracefully, Butt shouted at 15-year-old Sarah and has yet to apologise.
On Tuesday 8 January at the Brent Forum ‘Are we pricing the poor out of Brent?’ Isabel Counihan and Robin Sivapalan challenged Brent councillors and officials. The meeting was shocked when Isabel spoke about the advice she received from Brent Housing that her family should go and live in a field in Ireland.
On Wednesday 9 January the campaign asked Councillor Claudia Hector to sign our no evictions pledge. She refused and made a lot of false claims about the Counihans in an effort to justify her refusal. Later on, Councillor Hector claimed in an email that she had been bullied and harassed.
None of these unpleasant tactics from Brent Labour will deter the family and the campaign from fighting for justice.
4. Public Meeting - No evictions! No cuts in Brent! Thursday January 31st 7pm.
Have you had an eviction notice or had your benefits cut?
Have Brent told you that you will be housed outside the borough?
Are you opposed to council cuts and the way Brent is attacking services for working class people?
Come to our meeting to join the resistance to evictions and cuts in Brent.
If you are opposed to council cuts and the way Brent is attacking services for working class people come to our meeting to discuss how we can step up the campaign to defend working class people in Brent.
Venue: Salvation Army Hall, 55 Chichester Road, Kilburn NW6 5QW (near Kilburn Park Tube)
You can support the Counihan Family Campaign by making a Paypal donation at
Find out more on facebook – look for Counihan Battlebus and Counihan Sanchez Housing Campaign
Counihan-Sanchez Housing Campaign
07958 157 392