- Created: Thursday, 04 December 2014 11:21
- Written by London Branches
On Tuesday 25 November the Focus E15 campaign helped win an important victory for young mother Candice and her 18-month-old baby.
After hours of negotiations in Bridge House, part of Newham Council's housing service, Candice and her baby were offered a two-bedroom home (in the private rented sector) in Newham.
Candice and her baby had been relying on friends and family, sleeping on sofas and in living rooms. Last year they were offered a place in Liverpool as part of the Newham’s social cleansing policy to send council tenants out of London. But why should she be sent hundreds of miles away family, friends and support networks.
Last week the homeless unit wouldn't give Candice an interview or appointment, telling her to find a property that accepts DSS and ring the special number to ask a member of staff to begin negotiations with the landlord. This is proven not to work; few landlords take DSS and the council can never respond fast enough to beat a cash deposit from someone else.
This week the council did offer Candice an appointment, saying that she was likely to be offered a place out of London and if she turned it down her case would be closed, full stop. However, the campaign mobilised support and Jasmin and Sam, who fought and won against social cleansing last year, went in to accompany Candice at her appointment.
Carpenters Estate, five minutes walk from Bridge House, has hundreds of empty properties. Despite Newham mayor Robin Wales' promise of opening up 40 flats on the estate, in the last month so far only two are newly-occupied.
Hundreds of people seeking accommodation pass through the doors of Bridge House every day and many are being sent out of London, to places far from family, community, support networks, chidren's schools etc.
The story of Candice and her baby is the story of thousands of people across London, facing eviction, homelessness and social cleansing from increasingly gentrified London. It is encouraging to see that pressure and publicity can be effective but there is lots more work to be done, and this includes exposing the Labour Party in Newham, who are the ones applying these vicious housing policies affecting poor and vulnerable people in our communities.
Comrades from FRFI joined Focus E15 campaign to support Candice and we will continue to be part of this resistance.
Keep up the pressure.
No to social cleansing.
Repopulate the Carpenters Estate.