Emotions ran high as angry Londoners took part in a ‘Twitter storm’ against Lambeth Council on Thursday, asking them: “Why are you failing homeless people by forcing them into the private sector?”
Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth orchestrated the ‘Twitter storm’ to question and pressurise senior members of the council, particularly Councillor Lib Peck, leader of Lambeth Council.
The Twitter hash tag #stopsocialcleansing was used by a number of concerned people, including Green Party parliamentary candidate, Jonathan Bartley, in a bid to get Lambeth Council’s attention.
— Jonathan Bartley (@jon_bartley) September 25, 2014
The new group, which advocates housing rights for Southwark and Lambeth residents, blames the introduction of the Localism Act of 2011 for the problems many homeless people face trying to find housing.
On their blog, they said: “Before the Localism Act, homeless people, who the council had a duty to house, would eventually get secure, affordable social housing in their local community.
“Now, homeless people can be forced to accept accommodation in the private sector where they are at risk of more evictions and homelessness, as well as being forced out of their home borough and even beyond London because of high London rents.”
Those sentiments were echoed by many residents of the borough, angry about the lack of support for those who require social housing.
Ms Peck did not respond to any of the accusations or questions put to her by Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth supporters.
— Peter Pannier (@PeterPannier) September 25, 2014
Another group, Focus E15, has also raised their voice and protested on the growing issue of homelessness and the difficulties of being allocated social housing, after being threatened with moving out of their Newham homes to Manchester and Hastings.
The East London-based Focus E15, which consists of 29 homeless single mothers, complained that an estate in Stratford was almost empty after being cleared by the council, while increasing numbers could not afford to buy or rent a home.
Their slogan reads: “Social housing, not social cleansing.”
Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth concluded: “We think manipulating people like this and denying social housing to those in need is wrong!
“Everyone deserves affordable, secure, quality, social housing.”
Picture courtesy of Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth, with thanks