- Created: Wednesday, 28 June 2017 20:32
- Written by Paul Frederix
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 258 June/July 2017
FRFI comrades in Manchester and Salford have been organising under the banner of ‘Manchester Fight for Housing!’ to encourage people to get active in the face of the ever worsening housing situation.
We launched a ‘YES TO DSS’ campaign in South Manchester, with bi-weekly pickets of letting agents identified as promoting the discriminatory practice of barring welfare recipients from rental properties. This comes on the back of a series of public meetings and regular street stalls in Chorlton, Hulme, Moss Side and Salford highlighting the issue.
In April, the group joined forces with local homeless activists to picket the Greater Manchester Mayoral Hustings. A camp was set up outside the venue to expose the Labour council’s attacks on the homeless community over the last five years. We pressed the favourite for mayor and eventual winner, Labour’s Andy Burnham, on his party’s appalling record on housing, both nationally and locally.
Manchester Fight for Housing! subsequently presented the new Mayor with a list of demands, drawn up through public consultation:
- A commitment to providing decent housing for all, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
- An end to the use of No DSS stipulations on all rental properties.
- The full rejection of the Overall Benefit Cap and reversal of Housing Benefit cuts.
- No evictions – support tenants to remain housed.
- Stop councils from labelling anyone as ‘intentionally homeless’ and thus throwing people onto the street.
- An immediate end to use of public money in supporting private development with funds used for the construction of council housing.
As yet there has been no response.
We are also working with housing association residents in Salford over the treatment of tenants by Salix Homes. Works necessary to bring properties into line with the Decent Homes Standard have been postponed as the company prioritises the construction of new private properties.
On 10 June, FRFI and Manchester Fight for Housing! organised a Speak Out Against The Cuts rally in Salford centre. It was an opportunity for the local community to speak out against decades of under-investment, the housing crisis and growing poverty in the city. Local campaigners from Save The Grange also attended drawing support for their fight against council cuts to care homes.