A vulnerable Brixton family facing eviction has launched a last-ditch attempt to save their home on the Loughborough Estate in Brixton.
Lambeth Housing Activists, who campaign for affordable housing, have launched a petition to keep this family from homelessness.
The tenant Marian Okanlawon, 42, lives with her two young daughters in the Loughborough Park Estate in a Guinness Partnership house and works as healthcare assistant in Wimbledon NHS hospital.
Marian said: “I feel I have been used and manipulated by Guinness for offering me such tenancy in the first place.”
She wants her fixed-term tenancy to be reviewed, but Guinness are offering is a financial settlement.
Marian has been in the UK for 11 years after moving from Nigeria, and has been a tenant of Guinness housing association since July 2007.
The Guinness Partnership plans to evict Marian and her daughters, Elizabeth, nine and Bethany, five, so they can finish regenerating the Loughborough estate.
It is one of the UK’s biggest affordable housing provider, with 60,000 homes and 120,000 residents.
Guinness rent out flats temporarily on assured shorthold tenancies, and its tenants do not have long term rights. In other words, Guinness is under no obligation to rehouse them.
If the eviction goes ahead, Marian will most likely have to leave her job and her children will have to move schools.
At last week’s court hearing, the judge postponed the decision on eviction. Marian expressed her hopes for the outcome.
She said: “When he finally gives his judgement, it will be a free and fair one that both parties will understand.”
Marian has no recourse to public funds like housing benefits, and her full rent comes out of her low wages.
She said of the larger issue: “Gentrification to me is just a way of making the poor poorer and the rich richer using us to cleanse the area.”
However, Guinness Housing Association have defended their policy.
A spokesman said: “Ms Okanlawon signed an assured shorthold tenancy when she moved to Loughborough Park, which clearly set out that she would not be entitled to be rehoused when the site was redeveloped.
“We are unable to rehouse Ms Okanlawon due to legislative reasons and have instead been working closely with her and Lambeth Council to explore other housing options.”
In spite of this, Marian is indebted to the local community.
“I am so very proud of the amount of love, time and support shown to me and my children,” she said.
“It shows the Brixton community is closely knit with LOVE.”