Thursday 31st May
MAYOR and cabinet agree to refurbish occupied houses!!
A member of Steve Bullock's cabinet confirmed this afternoon that a decision had been taken last night to abandon the plan to sell off 6 or 7 houses of which 5 have been occupied by People Before Profit since February. The houses will be refurbished using local tradespeople and include apprenticeships.
The full details have yet to emerge, but there is no doubt that it is only the persistence of our campaigning that has persuaded the Mayor to reject the advice of his senior officers who recommended selling off the houses quickly at auction. Questions are being asked about why the reserve prices were so low, well below market value, when council's have a duty to do the best by council-tax payers.
More news on this story when we get it.
Sunday 19th Feb 2012
ALL FIVE HOMES NOW BEING LIVED IN
Following a mass action at Lampmead Road we have now reinstated hot water and cleared the house and garden of rubbish. There's still a bit more cleaning to do today (Sunday) so come along and help between 11am and 3pm.
Then we will have some people living in the house full time who will make further improvements, such as relaying the floor in the bathroom, then refitting the bathroom with an upstairs toilet.
81 Etta Street now has hot water, making that the first of our five houses where the occupants can have a hot bath.
7 Angus St is almost ready for a family currently being put up in expensive B&B accommodation to move into - we just need to refit the bathroom there, which was converted into a childrens toilet area when the house was used as a nursery.
Thursday 16th Feb 2012
VICTORY to People Power - 5 family homes saved as council houses following our occupation last weekend.
In a bid to stop 5 family houses being sold off at auction on Monday 13th February activists entered and peacefully took control of the houses earmarked for "disposal" by Lewisham Council.
All of them would be suitable for family's to rent if they were refurbished, one only needs a lick of paint and the installation of a bath or shower - someone could move in there tomorrow!
There are around 50 families in Bed & Breakfast accommodation at the moment, paid for by us, the council tax payers. A further 350 are in hostels and around 1000 families are in temporary accommodation here in the borough of Lewisham.
With such a shortage of affordable homes for rent is it a disgrace that the council is considering selling off these homes, and with reserve prices way below current market levels.
The Evening Standard was the first to report the story: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-24034965-sit-in-bid-to-scupper-council-house-sales.do , followed by BBC London at 6.30pm and BBC TV News. By Tuesday ITN was covering it along with most newspapers. http://www.itv.com/london/lewisham-homes-pressure26161/
If the council won't live up to its responsibilities in refurbishing them Lewisham People Before Profit will consider taking on that task, employing and training unemployed people from our borough to fit new bathrooms and kitchens where necessary. There will also be carpentry and plastering work. All the roofs are in good repair.
We have contacted Lewisham's Housing Department to arrange a meeting and explained our position to the borough valuer.
Our sympathies do go to those people who were interested in buying the houses and repairing them - we did report the occupation to the police on Saturday evening giving the council and the auctioneers plenty of time to withdraw them prior to the sale and saving you the time and trouble of going to the auction today. We are not opposed to people owning their own homes - but we don't agree with rented housing being reduced even further.
COME AND HELP THIS WEEKEND
at 61 Lampead Road, Lee Green, SE13 when we will be clearing the most untidy of the houses we now occupy. We already have a plumber and an electrician to make sure that the water and electricity are safely reinstated, but we need help clearing junk and replacing the French windows which are currently in the garden. 11am till 3pm, Saturday and Sunday. Lunch provided along with tea/coffee and camaraderie!
CAN YOU DONATE THE FOLLOWING:
Carpet, electric cooker, table, beds.
Would you be willing to pay for a hot water tank for Albyn Rd (£150) an electric shower for Friendly St (£66) an immersion element for Etta St (£16). We can fit these things for free to get hot and cold running water at all the houses.
We now have people in all 5 of the houses and will produce a new video showing the cleaned and occupied houses after Sunday's clearup at 61 Lampmead Road.
Here's the poster we have been distributing to explaining our actions: