Haringey residents call for a fightback against Government housing policies threatening the homes of thousands of local residents

- public meeting calls for affordable, secure, local, decent housing for all
- local campaigning launched against the bedroom tax, benefits cap and other unjust measures
- ‘social cleansing’ condemned as local residents refuse to be forced out of their own borough by high rents and benefit cuts

On Saturday 16th March nearly 60 residents attended a ‘Decent Homes For All’ public mini-conference in Wood Green Library. The event, called by a number of residents’ action groups concerned with housing issues, brought people together to share their experiences and views about a whole range of shocking Government-driven attacks on local people’s housing rights. These include the notorious bedroom tax, scandalous benefit cuts and cap, weakening of tenants rights, the undermining of access to Council housing, and much more.

The Council and also Housing Associations were criticised for going along with the Government, and for failing to defend the rights of tenants. Private landlords were roundly condemned for the ever-increasing rent levels, failure to provide secure tenancies, discrimination against those on benefits and general exploitation of local tenants. Local house prices and mortgages are unaffordable to most people, so even homeowners are struggling to pay their bills. This ‘perfect storm’ of totally unacceptable policies and practices is leading to a sharp rise in homelessness and overcrowding, and ‘social cleansing’ as local people are being forced out of their own borough.

“  The housing rights of tens of thousands of Haringey residents are being undermined by unacceptable Government-driven changes – benefit cuts, the bedroom tax, soaring private rents, lack of Council housing and so on. We call on everyone to demand decent, secure, affordable, local homes for all. ”
- Matt Salusbury (private tenant and one of the organisers)

Those present thronged the information stalls and then listened to presentations from Haringey Housing Action Group, Haringey Defend Council Housing, Haringey Private Tenants and Haringey Solidarity Group. Know-your-rights sessions were followed by the sharing of experiences, and finally 3 round-table discussions for social housing tenants / private tenants / those in temporary accommodation or homeless. The aim of those final sessions was to work out what residents can do together to fight for their rights.

Examples of action which came out of the discussions:
- spread information on people’s rights and how people can access them… it was noted that 5,000 informative and agitational leaflets were distributed locally in the preceding 10 days
- get involved in, and strengthen, the existing local housing solidarity and action groups…. the 4 key groups are holding open meetings in the following fortnight [see below]
- ensure residents associations take up these issues and try to defend their communities
- join the growing local housing and benefits protests against the Government, Council, Letting Agents and private landlords… it was noted that 16th March was a national day of action against the bedroom tax with 57 localised actions across the UK
- campaign for the policies and practices people really need
- link up with similar campaigns around London and the UK

Taking action together:

- Haringey Private Tenants are meeting – to give and receive advice and discuss action for the benefit of all Haringey renters – on
Wed 3rd April 6.30pm @ Cafe Life, North London Community House, 22 Moorefield Rd, N17
- Haringey Defend Council Housing campaign promotes good quality Council housing for all who need it.
Next meeting is Tues 26th March, 7pm @ Cafe Life, North London Community House, 22 Moorefield Rd, N17
- Haringey Housing Action Group next meeting is 10am, on Fri 22nd March @ Cafe Life, North London Community House, Moorefield Rd, N17
- Haringey Solidarity Group have launched a campaign to Scrap the Benefits Cap.
Next meeting, Sunday March 31st, 2pm @ Cafe Life, North London Community House, Moorefield Rd, N17

Event organised by open planning meetings, supported by:
Haringey Housing Action Group, Haringey Defend Council Housing, Haringey Federation of Residents Associations, Haringey Private Tenants Group, Haringey Solidarity Group, Day-Mer, Taxpayers Against Poverty, Haringey UNISON, Haringey Trades Union Council, Haringey Alliance for Public Services

More info:
0208 216 9651

March 17, 2013  Tags: , ,   Posted in: INFORMATION, LOCAL CAMPAIGNS