Eviction Resistance in Redbridge

Yesterday UNITE Community Waltham Forest and supporters successfully prevented the eviction of Jenny, an Ilford resident. Jenny, a parent with health issues, was threatened with eviction from a house which is in a bad state of repair and from which she wants to move. However Redbridge Council only offered her temporary accommodation in a one bedroom flat in Harlesden, far from her disabled parents, her surgery and hospital. For now she and her family have a roof over their heads.

Messages of support can be posted on UNITE’s
Facebook page

Here are some videos of the action:

Community stops eviction in Walthamstow

Yesterday a group of campaigners and neighbours successfully prevented the eviction of a family from their home in Walthamstow. Eleanor Firman, of union Unite Community issued this statement:

Today myself and my local Unite Community group along with friends and neighbours plus Focus E15 and Radical Housing Network are all pulling together to help a mother and her two young children. She has complex health needs and is being evicted by her landlord in what looks like a revenge eviction. She had gone to a rent tribunal who lowered the rent to Local Housing Allowance rates. The landlord hardly waited a month before applying for repossession. This is totally unacceptable. I live a few streets away from the family and the property is identical to mine. It’s a friendly area but every year my neighbours and others like them are thrown out – its like clockwork, its so predictable. It’s usually so the landlord can put up the rent and avoid tackling repairs. I see it every week in this neighbourhood.  Property prices have doubled since I moved here a few years ago.  I always make friends with whoever moves in next door to me and warn them about the landlord (and the damp that is never sorted out). But it’s time to stop this exploitation. Everywhere people complain about the benefits bill yet its greedy landlords that are to blame. I love the community spirit around here and it hurts that these landlords spoil this and give Walthamstow a bad name. So today we’re resisting this eviction and sending the bailiffs away so this young mum and her family have time to get help from the council.

The local Guardian newspaper covered the story here and has a video of campaigners repelling the bailiffs

Waltham Forest Unite Community supports Boycott Workfare

Week of Action Against Workfare April 25 – May 2

Can you help?

Boycott Workfare writes…

As the general election campaign gets underway we are already seeing politicians calling for more of the same policies. More workfare. More sanctions. Yet we know that these policies have been a total disaster. It is shameful that workfare and sanctions are supported by all the main political parties. This is why we are holding a week of action in the week before the election (Sat 25 April – Sat 2 May) We need your help to expose and challenge workfare and sanctions policies and the political lies that underpin them.

http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4239

Want to know more about Workfare? Here’s some background information (taken Keep Volunteering Voluntary http://www.kvv.org.uk)

What’s wrong with Workfare?

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Stop benefit sanctions – national day of action, 19 March 2015

From Unite the Union

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More and more people are facing benefit sanctions. Over 2 million people have had their money stopped in the past 2 years.

That’s 2 million people, many of whom have been plunged into poverty, unable to heat their homes or even eat. How is this meant to help prepare people for work?

Benefit sanctions must be fought against.

These sanctions are cruel and handed out for ridiculous reasons such as:

  • Arriving minutes late to a meeting
  • Not applying for jobs when waiting to start a new job!
  • Missing an appointment on the day of the funeral of a close family member.

This has to stop.

Up and down the country on Thursday 19 March we will be protesting against the cruel use of sanctions.

FOUR ways to get involved:

  • Join an event near you on Thursday 19 March to stop benefit sanctions in your community.
  • Sign our petition calling on the government to stop using sanctions.
  • Share your story – we are looking for people who have been sanctioned to tell their story.
  • We want to show the reality and impact on people’s lives – show your support – share on Twitter and Facebook #No2Sanctions Like us on Facebook.

 

 

The Wildcats of Waltham Forest act for housing justice

A report from Furball

A wildcat. Copyright Peter Trimming/Creative Commons.

A wildcat.
Copyright Peter Trimming/Creative Commons.

Chaos reigned inside Bravissima letting agent on Hoe St, E17 where the owners and manager were observed in a massive arm-waving shouting match after the Wildcats of Waltham Forest picketed the shop for three hours, to highlight their unscrupulous practices.

The Wildcats (aka Unite Community Waltham Forest) chose to intervene after a member approached Bravissima to find a home, and was told they would need to pay £450 in unspecified fees on top of a deposit and rent, was then shown a “bed in a shed” available to in-work tenants only.

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Unite Community helps family of 5 resist eviction in E11

Waltham Forest Unite Community helps family of five resist eviction in Leytonstone.

Image from the Focus E15 Mothers Facebook page

Image from the Focus E15 Mothers Facebook page

Unite Community activists successfully resisted the eviction of Unite Community member, Mr. A and his family of 5*, (including a 16 day old baby), by a private landlord for ‘commercial reasons’ on Friday 17 October, with the fantastic support of Focus E15 Mothers and Eviction Resistance Network.  

After seeing the front door of the Leytonstone property (in Waltham Forest) barricaded by protesters with arms locked together, the bailiff called the police and nearly a dozen showed up. In the meantime Mr. A’s lovely neighbours stood outside their homes expressing sympathy for the family and even builders working nearby came over to express concern. The police finally agreed not to take action because the family wanted to leave but had nowhere to go until the council find a suitable property, and since previous requests for help had gone badly wrong, the parents were desperate to avoid destitution and protect the children.

With the temporary security of this reprieve activists left Mr. A’s wife and baby in the flat, and moved to the waiting room of Ascham Homes (the council’s housing agency) with banners and leaflets to support  their comrade as he tried to negotiate with senior officials there.

Against a background of activists chanting, “SOCIAL HOUSING NOT SOCIAL CLEANSING!”  Mr. A was finally offered temporary accommodation in Tottenham. As he was talking 40 or so other homeless families looked on, forlornly surrounded by luggage and toys they were forced to bring after being evicted that very day – the very fate our comrade was trying to avoid. Some of us began to collect case studies and to explain the way Unite Community works.

Mr A was told he could collect the keys at 5.30pm from the estate agents and housing benefit was arranged. However when he arrived there he was shocked to discover that the property in Tottenham – a temporary, nightly-paid, self-contained unit with three bedrooms not too far from the oldest children’s schools – was filthy and crawling with insects in every room. It was completely infested from top to bottom and thus unfit for anyone to live there, never mind a new born baby. Naturally Mr. A and his family decided against moving and as they had bravely resisted eviction they at least had somewhere dry and clean to stay – even though the bailiffs could soon return without a change of heart from the owner.

As the family wait anxiously for the council to respond to their plight, please spare a moment to send them a message of support via Eleanor Firman, Unite Community Waltham Forest.

*The family includes three children under ten (including the baby) and to protect them we are withholding their identity.