Nottingham Housing Justice Forum protests inadequate temporary accommodation

NHJF members protest outside Nottingham City Council

The RCG is continuing to take action against the housing crisis with the Nottingham Housing Justice Forum (NHJF) – a local political campaign fighting for decent housing. On 12 November, the NHJF held a protest of the full bimonthly meeting of Nottingham City Council (NCC), calling for an end to all forms of temporary accommodation. The Labour-run council is continuing to place homeless families and individuals in inadequate, often dangerous, hotels and hostels in order to ‘temporarily’ house them. These families are forced to live in appalling conditions. One NHJF campaigner, placed in a service station, had to walk along a motorway to take her child to school. Another campaigner told us that, whilst living in a hostel, her child struggled to sleep due to the sound of domestic violence from next door.

Clearly there is a crisis of temporary accommodation. However, when tasked with addressing this crisis, NCC’s response has been wholly inadequate. The NHJF has always stood firm in its demand for ‘Homes Not Hostels’. All forms of temporary accommodation are unsuitable for anybody to live in; the council must fight to provide social housing for everybody who needs it. But the council have no plans to eliminate temporary accommodation. Instead, in January, they made the measly pledge of ending bed and breakfast accommodation by the end of the year, and even then only for families. Six months later the council repeated this pledge with the added proviso that they may struggle to achieve it depending on ‘a significant increase in the number of people presenting as homeless’. Not only was the B&B motion insufficient to start with, they have written their own get-out clause!

The NHJF called their most recent protest to hold the council to account over this, and to demand that councillors take action to end unsuitable temporary accommodation. Protestors set up directly in front of the council building, expressing their demands through chants, placards and petitions. Campaigners and passers-by spoke on the open megaphone about their experiences of austerity and the trauma of homelessness.

During the meeting Labour councillor Linda Woodings announced that the council will be providing ‘a new supply of 90 temporary accommodation units’ and increased private-sector tenancies. For a large portion of homeless people these are unviable, unstable options. The solution to the housing crisis is clear: build sufficient social housing; however the council continue to stand opposed to this. The Housing Related Support budget has been axed by £8.4m over the past five years1. At the same time NCC is investing over £8m annually in Blueprint2, a company building luxury high-value homes, and has handed over £48m to private developers working on Broadmarsh Shopping Centre.

Of course it’s no surprise to see a Labour council paying the working class lip service whilst simultaneously attacking their living standards. NCC may have claimed to oppose the housing crisis in theory, but they still refuse to take any responsibility. Instead councillors have routinely attempted to shift all blame onto the government. The demands of the Nottingham Housing Justice Forum are clear – the council must take whatever action necessary to oppose the housing crisis. Clearly, this will mean challenging vested capitalist interests, and it begins by challenging the Labour-run councils blaming the government while carrying out its orders.


[1] Nottingham Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2019-2024

[2] Nottingham City Council Statement of Accounts 2017/18

 

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We have regular street actions and political educational meetings in Nottingham, Birmingham and Worcester – for details call 07746 559 033 or email nottinghamrcg@gmail.com for Nottingham, rcgbrum@hotmail.com for Birmingham or rcg.worcester@yahoo.com for Worcester.

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