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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 February 2018

Union-led campaign beats Blairite attacks on homeless

Housing: homeless person, photo Paul Mattsson

Housing: homeless person, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Housing campaigners have shamed right-wing Labour councillors in Waltham Forest, east London, into withdrawing their latest attacks on homeless people.

The housing workers' branch of general union Unite helped lead the campaign. Suzanne Muna, secretary of the branch and Socialist Party member, spoke to a rally against gentrification of the borough's Walthamstow town square:

This council, who cares so much about the homeless, cut 1 billion off its housing support budget. Of course, the hostels in the area said if you do that you will have more rough sleepers on the streets of Waltham Forest.

And what happened? We've got more rough sleepers than ever before on the streets. You only need to walk around, six, seven o'clock in the evening, and you will see that.

The council's solution was not to reinstate the housing support budget.

The council's solution was to go round so that when people woke up in the morning what they saw next to them was a letter taped to the wall, telling them that if they didn't move on they would have all of their possessions - in other words, their sleeping bags and their blankets - confiscated. And they were told to go to a campsite miles off.

So we started a petition and we shamed the council into withdrawing those letters - which apparently were all 'just a mistake' anyway. But we shamed the council, and they should be ashamed.

Homelessness has many, many different facets. And of course what they're doing here at Walthamstow town square is one of those. The driving out of communities, and unaffordable homes.

But we also have to end the harassment of rough sleepers. We have to end people being on the streets. We have to reinstate the money that has been cut from those budgets.

So many times what we hear - just as we hear that these corporations are going to come in and save the day - we also hear that housing associations are going to do the same.

Well we saw in this borough what Peabody did. Peabody is not building housing people can afford any longer. They're putting new units up - but for market rent, like so many housing associations.

The only solution is to build mass council housing that is not an emergency provision but is there for every working person that wants to live in council housing.

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In The Socialist 28 February 2018:


What we think

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Socialist Party news and analysis

Save Our Square occupation: "This land is our land!"

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International Women's Day

Resist the Tory war on women


Workplace news and analysis

Workers strike back!

Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

University bosses rocked - strikes can save staff pensions!

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Labour

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Socialist Students

Socialist Students conference highlights successful work

200 years of Marxism meeting


International socialist news and analysis

United States: young people demand change after latest mass shooting


Socialist Party campaigns

'Anti-austerity' Bristol Labour passes 34 million cuts budget

Newham: teaching workers and parents determined to halt academies

Building fund appeal: Behind the scenes at the Socialist Party office

Mary Jackson: funeral and memorial meeting

Union-led campaign beats Blairite attacks on homeless

Belper hospital threatened

Selling the Socialist in Stoke


Opinion

What's behind the surge in eating disorders?

The Socialist inbox

Socialist anti-war exhibition opens in Kingston


 

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Related links:

Waltham Forest:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Fight to end low pay in the NHS and Care

triangleSelling the Socialist: we're back!

triangleKen Douglas

triangleHackney, Waltham Forest & East London Socialist Party branches: Johnson's 'back to school' plan is not safe

triangleWaltham Forest trade unions discuss the fight for PPE and workplace safety

Homeless:

triangleTV: Ross Kemp - Living with Forced Out Families

triangleHomeless left on streets during pandemic

triangleKey workers should make bold demands

triangleDetermined St Mungo's homelessness workers strike for three days

Housing:

triangleA-level results day 2020: Fight for our future!

triangleHousing crisis: what now and after the pandemic?

triangleUnite: elect fighting socialist reps

Council:

triangleEngage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Suzanne Muna:

triangleHousing cuts cost lives

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