Housing demo, London, 13.3.16, photo James Ivens

Housing demo, London, 13.3.16, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Helen Pattison, East London Socialist Party

‘Keyworker’ tenants of the housing association One Housing in Newham, east London, have been hit by a 40% price hike.

It was a shock when tenants got the letters, as Truus Jansen, secretary of the newly formed One Housing Tenants Action Group, said: “They are taking away our homes. They are taking away a safe base for us to come home to”.

The tenants on the small estate in West Ham have been hit with 40% rent hikes and new contracts with no consultation. The properties are ‘keyworker’ housing, so the tenants do stressful jobs such as teachers, A&E staff and social workers.

When the price hike was announced the main thought was they would have to move. But Truus explained: “I called other residents and we said ‘will we pay?’, I made a petition and knocked on doors.” Truus thinks the tenants have found their “fighting spirit”, and have started a campaign.

The tenants’ group has written to One Housing to dispute the rent increase and new contracts.

“It’s divide and conquer. They are replacing social housing tenants with keyworkers and vice versa to set us against each other.” After housing victories over the last few years, from the E15 mums to Butterfields, One Housing clearly fears unity and tenants organising.