The impact of the pandemic exposed huge disparities in access to decent housing. The removal of support measures for those impacted by the pandemic, the spike in living costs, including food and fuel, along with the threat of rent and service charge hikes across both social and private sector housing, all mean the housing crisis is continuing to damage health, livelihoods, families and communities. Women, black and ethnic minorities are still bearing the brunt of discrimination.
But if we work together we can fight this. New housing groups continue to emerge and win their struggles, such as the Action for Fire Safety Justice Campaign that pressured property developers to take responsibility for cladding costs. We need to challenge the power of developers and the government who continue to prioritise profit over people and the environment.
The aim of the summit is to build strong networked national housing campaigns for the coming year by bringing together local groups, Trade Unionists, MPs and supporters from around the UK to share information and create coordinated solidarities and strategies. The event will have some key speakers but be workshop-based to generate ideas for how we can come together to fight for the secure, genuinely affordable and council homes that people need.
HfA Agenda 1. CAEH 2. Polluter Pays Amendment and building safety crisis Speaker: Daniell Hambrook 3. Update on Homes for All National Summit on 12 March 22 4. Report back from local groups 4.1 Possible speaker from Clapham Park Estate 5. Upcoming Local Events – 6. AOB
CAEH Agenda 1. CAEH Local Elections Manifesto 2. Idea for a series of meetings – update 3. Steering Group Meeting on the 27th January 4. DRAFT Election Manifesto –
Grenfell Community Campaigners protest outside Celotex Factory in Hadleigh, Ipswich, in fight for justice for victims, survivors and bereaved.
Celotex executives were complicit in the murder of 72 people, including 18 children, in the fire at Grenfell Fire that broke out four and a half years today
Grenfell Community Campaigners are today at Celotex Factory, causing disruptive protest and demanding justice. Justice means jail time for those who are culpable
Celotex manufactured the highly flammable insulation, which was a primary factor in the atrocious fire at Grenfell Tower
We are the Grenfell Community Campaigners and we are at the Celotex factory in Ipswich this morning on the 4 and a half year anniversary, where Celotex are complicit in the murder of 72 people, of which 18 are children, in the most atrocious fire in Grenfell Tower, North Kensington. We will be here for two hours protesting. Anyone in the Ipswich area who is able to join us, please do so.
Celotex are one of the main culprits of the fire. They produced the foam insulation which was one of the major products which led to the fire spread, the release of toxic gases including hydrogen cyanide and subsequent death of 72 people, including 18 children.
The Public Inquiry into the fire revealed that Celotex rigged fire tests and therefore the fire certification. One of the executives, it was shared in the recent inquiry, said by email that he “didn;t give a f***” that they knew Celotex was highly flammable and toxic, and letting off cyanide fumes.
The Grenfell Community campaigners believe that the time is now to prosecute those responsible for the murder of those who needlessly perished in Grenfell Tower. We want justice.
Justice for the Grenfell community means that those who are responsible for the 72 deaths are charged and spend time in jail, not just fined. There must be jail time, for those that knew the insulation was highly flammable and did nothing about it.
Protest location: Celotex, Lady Lane Industrial Estate, Hadleigh, Ipswich IP7 6BA
Bellway is the first developer to cave in the battle to make developers pay for the building safety crisis. This comes as no surprise since the main organisers of Action for Fire Safety Justice, the group responsible for a series of high impact showroom protests, have been relentlessly targeting Bellway for over six months.
The biggest lesson from this victory is that protest works, particularly protests that directly hit the developers’ pockets and put off potential new buyers. This has been a key feature of the campaign, which has also targeted government with a rally at Downing Street. Homes for All has been proud to support this campaign, which has sought to unite tenants, leaseholders, trade unions and Grenfell campaigners in a struggle that fights for safety before profit.
Bellway Homes have agreed to fully fund the fire safety remediation of Caspian Quarter not only removes the financial burden from Caspian Quarter leaseholders, but provides a degree of peace of mind for the future in view of the incoming fire safety regimes such as the new standard PAS8890. This comes shortly after the win for leaseholders at Bellway’s Chelmsford development, where the developer confirmed it will step in to fund works that will remove unsafe Grenfell style cladding from their homes. https://www.essexlive.news/news/essex-news/essex-housing-bellway-homes-replace-6210489
Bellway Homes confirmed in a letter to Barking Leaseholders:
In this instance and due to the unique set of circumstances, Bellway will step in, set aside legal responsibility, and wholly fund and deliver the removal and replacement of the balcony decking, check and rectify cavity barriers and install those considered missing behind the cladding, as well as replace the cladding with an A1/A2 rated alternative.
AFSJ issued a press statement saying:
This victory comes after a concerted effort from Caspian Quarter and other leaseholders, support from the active Barking Reach Residents Association, housing groups such as Homes4All, other campaign groups such as UK Cladding Action Group, End Our Cladding Scandal, and National Leasehold Campaign, Polluter Pays Bill team, Grenfell campaigners, Fire Brigade Union and other trades unions. The campaign included multiple local and national protests, meetings, emails, media coverage and was also supported by the MP for Barking Dame Margaret Hodge, Councillor Cameron Geddes and the Barking & Dagenham Council, and the Bishop of Barking.
Joanna, the co-founder of Action of Fire Safety Justice, said:
I am over the moon and cannot describe the feeling of relief upon hearing the news of Bellway finally doing the right thing for Caspian Quarter, after they had agreed to do the same for our friends at the Marconi development in Chelmsford. The building safety crisis has so many facets and consequences – in addition to safety and financial worries, it is a tremendous pressure on leaseholders’ and their families’ mental health.
Action for Fire Safety Justice will continue to fight for and with all leaseholders affected by this horrendous scandal.We call upon Bellway to remediate the rest of their defective buildings, and on other developers to follow suit, so that we may all sleep soundly, not having to worry for our lives or livelihoods.
AFSJ are keen to share their learnings with others who are facing the same thing and they will host a public meeting on 7th December where they will talk about how the victory was won and answer questions. Homes for All congratulates all who had a role in winning this concession from Bellway. We are excited to continue supporting any housing struggle that fights for homes for people, not for profit.
Public Meeting: TUESDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2021 FROM 19:00-20:30
Action for Fire Safety Justice Update: How We Beat Bellway & How to Keep Going?
Join us as we share the campaigning tactics that forced Bellway to pay full remediation costs for our blocks. Hear from six Fire Safety Justice campaigners and join us in an open discussion as we reflect on successes and challenges in 2021 and decide together, where do we go from here?
*How We Beat Bellway (and how you can too)* Chloe, Joanna & Kelly, ASFJ crew & Bellway Must Pay co-founders
Tuesday 7th December, 2021 7pm – ACTION FOR FIRE SAFETY JUSTICE UPDATE: HOW WE BEAT BELLWAY & HOW TO KEEP GOING? Join us as we share the campaigning tactics that forced Bellway to pay full remediation costs for our blocks. Hear from six Fire Safety Justice campaigners and join us in an open discussion as we reflect on successes and challenges in 2021 and decide together, where do we go from here?
The Tories re-announced their ‘solution’ to the building safety crisis in the Budget last week, a £5bn fund to tackle fire safety remediation. Of course this money is a fraction of the £5 – £50bn that remediation is expected to cost. This was accompanied, as usual, by warm words about how leaseholders should not have to pay. If they thought they could put a dampener on the planned protests on Saturday, they were very wrong. There were eight protests and seven of them were live streamed into the Building Safety Crisis rally online. We were delighted to support the protests in person and by providing the tech support.
We heard, a couple of days before the day of action that Michael Gove had called leaseholders in for a meeting. Michael Gove is the Secretary of State for Levelling Up (sic), Housing and Communities. We think there is little doubt that the publicity around the upcoming protests played a role in his decision to meet leaseholders. Following the protests we are reliably informed that there is more interest in the press and parliament for a real solution – the Polluter Pays Bill.
We demanded that the Government makes Developers pay! The costs to fix fire safety issues should not fall on tenants or leaseholders. Speakers were: Chloe Waite, Action for Fire Safety Justice Tanya Murat, Homes For All Jenni Garrett, End Our Cladding Scandal Matt Wrack, FBU Georgie Hume, CLADDAG Chair, Moyra Samuels, Grenfell Campaigner Protests featured at the online rally were: ⁕ London City Hal l⁕ Abbey Quays Barking ⁕ Upton Park ⁕ Ipswich Waterfront ⁕ Stotfold ⁕ Bristol City Hall ⁕ Strasbourg European Court of Human Rights
REPORT: This ITV report is a good example of the coverage we received.
Southend: A Great day action on empty homes in Southend National day of action by Action on Empty Homes & Homes for all .The Southend action organised By Essex Unite Community Branch .Attended by Essex Unite community, Acorn renters Union,Harlow And District trade Union Council. Basildon & Thurock Trades Union Council ,Southend Trades Union Council. CWU Rep. Southend Labour Party Members. 100s Signed petition to Southend Esasr/West MPs to End Homelessness & Build Council Homes.
Islington: On Saturday, six Islington Councillors, together with Islington residents and activists from Islington Homes for All, Islington Housing Action, Action on Empty Homes and Street Storage (for homeless people) gathered outside the 28 empty ex-warders’ flats belonging to the Ministry of Justice behind Pentonville Prison, left empty for years. They were protesting against the continued refusal by the Ministry of Justice to honour the agreement made in 2019 with Islington Council for the flats to be leased to house homeless and overcrowded families in a borough with over 14,000 households on the housing waiting list. Councillor Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Housing emphasised the borough’s urgent need for these family-sized flats in the context of the present government clear disregard for people’s welfare in its pursuit to make money.
South London: Southwark, Aylesbury Estate. Up to 30 people protested at the Aylesbury Estate where the regeneration means the demolition of over 2,000 council homes. Over 600 council homes stand empty, waiting to be demolished. Southwark Council has been putting temporary tenants in these empty homes, and is subsidising developer Notting Hill Genesis to provide council homes in replacement of those that are demolished. We demand that NHG is removed and the estate is refurbished.
Westminster – Waiting for Report
E17 Against Evictions (Walthamstow) – Waiting for Report