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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 June 2017

Homelessness soars - Corbyn offers housing revolution

Homeless children, photo Eflon (Creative Commons)

Homeless children, photo Eflon (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

The housing crisis has fast become the issue that defines all that is wrong in Tory Britain.

At Glastonbury Jeremy Corbyn asked the crowd: "Is it right that there are people with nowhere to sleep at night?" To which the crowd roared back: "No!"

Yet people do live on the streets. Thousands. And it's becoming normalised.

In supposedly "gentrified' Walhamstow, a homeless man started to sleep on the street corner opposite my house with his plastic bags all around him. Someone gave him a chair he was there so long.

Now he has a coffee table and a plate and cup. I sometimes see him coming back from the pub with his toothbrush in his hand. People now say hello in the morning when they're taking kids to school and going to work. His homelessness has become normalised. It's like people have come to accept that he lives there, on the street, in that corner.

This is how shanty towns are made. And normalised.

A recent report said the number of families in temporary accommodation has soared by 61% since the Tories came to power in 2010.

Of the 77,240 households in temporary accommodation, almost a third were placed outside of their own council area, and 90% of those who had been moved were from London.

Corbyn's bold call for state acquisition of empty properties in Kensington and Chelsea and the buying up by the Corporation of London of homes at Kensington Row to temporarily house survivors shows that these homes were always available. That one act alone shows we don't have a housing shortage in this country.

We have a housing speculation problem. Those homes were bought within a week. This is a small glimpse of the resources available when the ruling class is under pressure.

Mass requisitioning of empty homes to house those in bed and breakfast accommodation and those on the streets is entirely possible. Homelessness is unnecessary and it can literally be solved overnight. It just requires the political will.

We don't want any more tragedies for this policy to be enacted. A socialist government would take empty properties; renovate the old ones; and plan towns and cities for public need, not private greed.

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In The Socialist 28 June 2017:


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Grenfell fire compounded by overcrowding: build more council homes now

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