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Social Housing/ private renters/ squatters/ homeless

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
Thought I would start thread to put info up on what is happening around Brixton and surrounds re Council Housing , private rented tenants and squatting.

A lot is happening that threatens truly affordable housing for all.

A new group has been set up "Lambeth Housing Activists" supported by Unite Community ( section of Unite Union). It includes Council tenants, "Short Life", private renters, homeless group and squatters. So is not just for one group. It is to build links and share information with disparate groups.

A newsletter has been started. This is first issue. Unite have printed it. I have copies if anyone wants one or more.

Here is PDF version. Please share.

There is FB page for meeting details. Meetings are open to anyone.
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
Old Vic community theatre are having workshops

The Old Vic Community Company are researching for their new production. Focusing on housing, they will be holding free workshops across South London and this is your chance to get involved. Come along and have your say, find out about how you can be involved in the production and meet like-minded Londonders
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
Got this email from DCH:
Tenants link up to oppose privatisation

Residents from Myatts Field were invited to Cressingham Gardens recently to speak to residents about their experience of " regeneration ". At a well attended meeting tenants and leaseholders also quizzed Lambeth Council about their plans for Cressingham Gardens - and the council admitted they could not guarantee that council tenancies would be protected .
Residents from Cressingham will in turn be visiting Myatts Field and stepping up the campaign to save their estate.

Bedroom tax - pressure on council grows

At the last Tenants Council Lambeth Council again refused to join up with other councils refusing to evict tenants who get into arrears because of the bedroom tax.
But pressure is growing on the council - a hundred tenants recently met in Lambeth Town Hall at a meeting organised by Unite Community and the Brixton Blog, and urged the council to re-consider it's position.

And the national movement against the Tory tax has forced Ed Milliband into committing a future Labour government to scrapping the tax.
But that will be hot air if Labour councils evict struggling tenants in the mean time.
Approximately 2,700 tenants in Lambeth are affected ,according to the council, who are losing a total of £3 million a year in benefit.

There are also 150 households affected by the benefit cap where tenants could lose a much higher proportion of their benefit than under the bedroom tax.

In Southwark thousands of tenants have been threatened with eviction by the Labour council for council tax arrears.

Lambeth Council continue to insist there are enough smaller properties for people to move into through mutual exchange. But that does not take into account whether the properties are suitable for the large numbers of disabled people affected , or whether they are near their children's schools or family networks.

Only 1.5 % of tenants in Lambeth affected by the bedroom tax have moved since April 2013.

A judge recently ruled in an appeal brought by tenants in Fife that a room of 66 square foot cannot be classed as a bedroom and the government has responded by appealing the decision and telling councils to tax smaller rooms , whether they are used as a bedroom or not.
http://speye.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/judge-rules-housing-act-overcrowding-size-issues-apply-to-the-bedroom-tax/
 
Don't know a great deal about their politics (I'm a frequent visitor to Lewisham borough but not really involved in what's going on locally), but Lewisham / Greenwich has the party (?) people before profit - I'm aware they have done a certain amount on the housing front, e.g. occupying and refurbishing homes that council / housing association have tried to flog off.

And from the front page of their website, bedroom tax seems to be fairly high on their list of priorities at the moment.

Might possibly be some common ground.

I'm not a Lambeth resident (other than the bit of virtual brixton that is U75) but wonder if Lambeth might be fertile territory for something offering a bit more than new-labour does...
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
Been looking at the Council "State of the Borough Report 2012". It gives overview of Lambeth and also individual wards. Looks at housing , ethnicity, age, income differences and deprivation.

Coldharbour Ward ( covers central Brixton, market, and estates such as Barrier Block and Moorlands) is the most deprived ward in Lambeth and is up there as one of the top 10% deprived in the country.

Page 11

Those living in the most deprived areas are spread throughout the borough but are particularly concentrated in Coldharbour ward.
Brixton

Area east of Lyham Road, south to Dumbarton Road, which includes Brixton Prison and
the Blenhiem Gardens estate is classified as severely deprived in income, employment,
health and crime.

Area east of Brixton Road between Loughborough Road and Villa Road, which includes
the Angell Town Estate is classified as severely deprived in income, employment and
wider barriers to services .

Area at the junction of Shakespeare Road and Coldharbour Lane is classified as severely
deprived in income affecting older people, wider barriers to services and crime.

The Moorlands Estate is classified as severely deprived in income,employment and
wider barriers to services.

Area at the junction of Tulse Hill and Christchurch Road, including much of the St Martin’s
Estate is classified as severely deprived in income and wider barriers to services
domains.
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
From the same report page 21:

The main housing estates are Angell Town, Loughborough, Rushcroft Road, Bob Marley Way, Marcus Garvey Way and Moorlands. Primary schools include Loughborough, St John's Angell Town and Hill Mead. Coldharbour ward’s population grew by 6% between 2001 and 2012, with the older working age population growing by 42%, and the population aged 60 and over falling by 17%. The ward population is projected to grow by 9% in the next ten years.

Coldharbour is the poorest ward in Lambeth. Three in five residents are social housing tenants (61% v 38% overall); two thirds of whom rent from the council's ALMOs 39 (Lambeth Living andUnited Resident’s Housing) or a Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), and a third from housing associations (40% and 21% respectively of the population of the ward).

Reflecting this,ward residents are less likely to be owner occupiers (12% vs 36%).
Coldharbour is also one of the most ethnically diverse wards in the borough. Residents are less
likely to be white British (28% vs 47%) and more likely to be Black Caribbean (17% vs 10%) or
Black African (21% vs 10%). They are less likely to have no religion (11% vs 19%) and more
likely to have a Non-Christian religion (16% vs 10%).

Coldharbour ward residents are more likely to have children (46% vs 35%),to think that not
enough is being done for young people (26% vs 19%) and to use primary (14% vs 9%) and
secondary education (21% vs 13%).

They are more likely to use libraries (45% vs 37%) and to have a good opinion of libraries (65% vs 48%).

Residents of Coldharbour ward are less likely to be employed (51% vs 59%), and reflecting this
they are more likely to receive: Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (29% vs 12%), Housing Benefit (44% vs 22%) or Council Tax Benefit (35% vs 17%), and they are more likely to use
the Housing benefit service (26% vs 16%). They are less likely to get interest from savings (0% vs 11%).

Coldharbour residents are less likely to be concerned about traffic congestion (5% vs 13%). They
are also less likely to use parks and open spaces (48% vs 58%). They are less likely to think
people being drunk or rowdy in public places (58% vs 69%) and the same goes for people using
or dealing drugs is a problem in their area (47% vs 65%), although they are more likely to have
experienced drug dealing in the last year (30% vs 21%). They are also more likely to have seen
knife and gun crime (23% vs 11%).
 

Nedrop

Member
From the private rent side a 2 bed flat towards Loughborough Junction in Coldharbour Ward with a kitchen/diner is currently around £1250 a month rent

£100 or so cheaper a month than central Brixton area

Still a lot for those who earn an average salary and don't get access to social housing
 

editor

hiraethified

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
Does that means someone is poor though? If I was in social housing in Lambeth, then we would be £300 a month better off.
I see your point.

However my post 7 quotes the report that its the large estates in Coldharbour ward that are deprivd in terms of income, health, employment etc.

This does not necessarilly have to go together with living in social housing. It happens in Coldharbour ward that the statistics show those living on these estates are amongst the most deprived in borough.

I think that is why it does not cause the outcry it should do. Its effectively hidden on these estates. Unless you meet people from the estates ( as I have) you would not necesssarily know about it first hand. Secondly there has been years of propaganda from governments ( Labour/ Tory ? LD) and press about "scroungers" etc. I do not think the majority in Coldharbour ward are well represented by the political classes. Thirdly there is a complacent attitude from many people.

When Council housing was being built in after the war it was supposed to have a cross section of society living in it. The gradual reduction in social housing since Thatcher (RTB and less and less built) has put an end to that.

When large estates were built after the war working people had jobs. Thirty years of economic changes has meant that a whole lot of people are superflous to requirements of Capital.
 
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boohoo

No.
It also has very high levels of people living on benefits, so it's fair to say that they're not exactly coining it in around these parts.
Living on benefits (up til recently with all the cuts and taxes) doesn't mean you are necessarily hard up. There are lots of people on low paid jobs or even on reasonably paid incomes struggling to meet the costs of living in London. Neither benefits or low paid makes your life particularly fun or easy and you have to deny yourself things or chose what you spend your money on wisely. Or hope that a family member has some cash to help you out.
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
Living on benefits (up til recently with all the cuts and taxes) doesn't mean you are necessarily hard up. There are lots of people on low paid jobs or even on reasonably paid incomes struggling to meet the costs of living in London. Neither benefits or low paid makes your life particularly fun or easy and you have to deny yourself things or chose what you spend your money on wisely. Or hope that a family member has some cash to help you out.
Living on benefits definitely makes one hard up. Has been for some time. Do not understand your post. As you say in second half that "you have to deny yourself things".

A lot of people on benefits are working. Claim benefits to make up for low pay.

There is definition called "Minimum Income Standard". Only just been looking at it.

Basically its more than just living but what people should get to be part of society. ie access to internet at home for example.


Joseph Rowntree Foundation
published the first minimum income standard (MIS) in 2008. The MIS is
updated annually to reflect changes to costs and living standards. It is based
on detailed deliberation by groups of members of the public. They identify the
items a household would need in order to reach a minimum acceptable standard
of living that allows its members to participate in society.
conclusion (for 2013)
The squeeze in living standards caused by the combination of rising prices and stagnant incomes
continues to hit people on low incomes hard. Over the past five years, the spending needed to reach
an acceptable living standard according to MIS has risen by a quarter or more for various households,while earnings have hardly risen at all.
 

Rushy

AKA some / certain posters
Yet, at the same time, we are reliant on migrant workers to keep our schools and hospitals, etc going. Weird.
I've noticed that most of the guys replacing pavements, working on St Matthews Estate improvements and Brockwell Park improvements are all eastern European.
 

leanderman

Street Party: July 2
I've noticed that most of the guys replacing pavements, working on St Matthews Estate improvements and Brockwell Park improvements are all eastern European.
Same is true of the workers who have transformed Brockwell Park
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
Yet, at the same time, we are reliant on migrant workers to keep our schools and hospitals etc going. Weird.
Business wants cheap labour. Nothing weird about it. Its how the system works.

NHS poaches skilled nurses and doctors from other countries. Means they do not incur costs of training.

Also a lot of jobs in hospitals (cleaning etc) have been outsourced to private companies who pay workers less with little security in employment.

A lot of jobs are now short term contracts/ zero hours contracts.

China is the workshop of the world based on its on internal migration of cheap labour to cities.

My friend in Shenzen says her city ( the first area where Communist Party set up free market economic zone) empties out in holidays as most of population are migrant workers. These migrant workers do not have the rights that she has in her city.

Point is if you do working class job ur are shafted one way or another.
 
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Gramsci

Well-Known Member
This is worth bringing up again. The UN rapporteur on housing report.

The right to housing is not about a roof anywhere, at any cost, without any social ties. It is not about reshuffling people according to a snapshot of the number of bedrooms at a given night. It is about enabling environments for people to maintain their family and community bonds, their local schools, work places and health services allowing them to exercise all other rights, like education, work, food or health.
and this:

Rolnik's approach is framed by international human rights law, to which the UK is a signatory. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (articles one and two) obliges the UK to "take steps to ensure and sustain the progressive realisation of the right to adequate housing."
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
Council Housing finances have changed. Briefly- the new system is called "Self Financing". Each Council has taken on some of the overall debt that was originally held by central Government. This was done using a complicated formula. Some Councils did better than others.

Lambeth has relatively well out of it. After taking on some of the debt it has £140 - 148 million "headroom". This is the amount of money it can borrow.

The HRA account also appears to be in surplus. More info here on Self financing / HRA in Lambeth in recent report to Housing Scrutiny.

Looks to me like Lambeth are being over cautious.

Other Councils are using the "headroom" and HRA surplus ( which they can now keep unlike under the old system) more creatively.

See here Inside Housing article.

Other Councils are using the "Headroom" to improve existing stock and build new housing. New housing which will bring in revenue stream of course.

The Inside Housing article also says that Lambeth is in top 5 in amount of "Headroom" they are able to use.

Its a good article summarising this complex subect.

In page 5 of the pdf link to report above Lambeth say they will use Headroom to :


Lambeth is expecting to borrow the full amount of funding available to it in order to invest in the housing stock locally. This is being managed through Housing Investment Strategy and seeks to deliver the Lambeth Housing Standard across the borough over a period of time.

Considering what some other Councils are doing I think Lambeth can be questioned that they are not using the new freedom of movement they now have under "Self Financing".

Still this is just first thoughts. Im no expert.

Problem is to argue a case for Council to build. (Southwark argue they have large historic debts to pay off. )
 
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