Empty Homes: Fill Them Now! – Online Public Meeting

Join our online meeting on Tuesday 2nd June, 6.30pm with Mark Slater of Rochdale Seven Sisters campaign; Will McMahon Action on Empty Homes; Labour Homelessness campaign, and Tanya Murat Southwark DCH. 

Join the meeting, comment and ask questions through our Facebook  page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/292137258619584/

Or our YouTube channel: Homes 4 All UK

A Minister’s letter to ‘all’ council and housing association tenants, 
sets out what should be happening on repairs, maintenance, gas safety 
and moves.  As most tenants have not received it, see it here: 
http://www.axethehousingact.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Covid19_Letter_to_social_housing_residents.pdf

Despite the crisis and lockdown, Housing Association landlords are 
pushing through rent rises; NottingHill Genesis (NHG) is threatening 
outrageous 25% rises for NHS staff, teachers and other key workers.  
Tenant protests have forced NHG to delay these – but tenants are 
determined to stop this rank profiteering.  Do get in touch if you or 
people you know are affected, or if you can help their campaign.

And you can write to Housing Minister Robert Jenrick, and copy it to 
your own MP, council leader (and us!). We need to keep up pressure to 
ensure thousands don’t face evictions at the end of June, and to get 
funding for a new generation of council homes. 

Model letter with address/email is here:  
http://www.axethehousingact.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Jenrick-letter-final.pdf

Government letter to tenants on Covid, repairs and your rights

This letter from a Minister dated 18 May 2020, says ‘landlords should be able to carry out routine as well as essential repairs’, making prior arrangements with any households isolating or shielding sick and vulnerable people. It includes guidelines for how work should be done and tenants protected: see links in the document including Coronavirus (Covid19) Guidance for Landlords and Tenants.

We can’t leave our safety to chance – so demand your landlord agrees in advance to stick to the guidelines, and agree a procedure if these are broken. All workers in our blocks and homes need to work safely or not at all.

Work on high rise blocks with unsafe cladding or insufficient fire safety, ‘remains a top priority for the Government’, it claims. (So why are there still at least 357 blocks still with Grenfell-style cladding, and 11,000 blocks with risky cladding, two years on from the Grenfell fire?)

This letter, with important information, has not been sent to any of the 4 million+ tenants so far – so we are publishing it to ensure we can prepare and protect ourselves.

Our survey confirms Covid impact on tenants


A Homes for All  survey is gauging how Coronavirus is affecting its supporters, families and communities.  Initial results, from 101 respondents , confirm that Covid-19 is deepening a housing crisis that’s been growing for years.
The survey results show:

25% have lost all or some of their income.
9% have had to claim Universal Credit.
15% are struggling to pay rent/mortgage.
10% have fallen into arrears.
17% are worried about falling into arrears.

Private renters are most, and disproportionately affected by the crisis:

39% have lost all or some of their income.
70% are struggling to pay the rent.
50% have fallen into arrears.
73% are worried about falling into arrears.

By comparison, although 28% of those who’ve lost all or some of their income are council tenants, their secure tenancies appear to reduce anxiety at falling into arrears.

Eileen Short of Defend Council Housing (part of the Homes for All alliance) says:
“These results are very worrying.  They tally with other research showing we’re heading for an explosion of evictions and homelessness unless government takes urgent action to protect tenants who can’t pay the rent due to the Covid crisis.  The results also show council housing is the only truly secure affordable rented housing, especially in a crisis.  That’s why we’re demanding action to ensure 100,000 new and reclaimed council homes a year as part of the recovery plan.”

As London Renters Union’s Amina Gichinga says:
“After lockdown ends, it could go two ways. Renters could face the chaos of rent debt and evictions. Or they could be safe from eviction and able to afford necessities like food and rent.

“That’s not much to ask – but for it to happen, the government needs to suspend rent payments, cancel rent debt and make the evictions ban permanent. Ultimately we need rent controls and more council housing.”

Behind the statistics are people’s lives.  Among some of the responses to the Homes for All survey:
“It is hard not having any face to face contact with family/friends, as I live on my own in a flat. Also, I do not have a garden or balcony, which increases the time I have to stay inside.”

(15% of responders reported lack of access to open space.)

“I have constant anxiety and fear about money and housing security.”

“I am classed as vulnerable.  I’m over 65 and Diabetic.  I live in an overcrowded house with one son sleeping on the settee and working making cardboard boxes for lamp shades and another son, a bus driver whose been furloughed.”

“On 27 March, Haringey Council’s management company closed the concierge service and reduced the cleaning service in blocks (no more weekly cleaning of stairways landings and corridors).  The risk of infection is obvious.”

Tenants, Covid, and the Fight to Keep our Homes – May 9th 2020 Online Meeting

Join our online Public meeting on Saturday 9th May 2020 at 7pm with UK, USA tenants and Barcelona Tenants Union, and John McDonnell MP on:

Our Facebook page: Facebook: Axe the Housing Act – Secure homes for all

OR our YouTube Channel: YouTube Homes 4 All UK

Please share and invite people via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/188041545527763/

PDF Download here:
http://www.axethehousingact.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/H4A_Tenants-Covid-meet90520.pdf

WATCH THE CONVERSATION:
Thank you to all who took part in the meeting. It has had thousands of views and you can still see it on Facebook:: 

Tenants, Covid And The Fight To Keep Our Homes.

Tenants, Covid And The Fight To Keep Our Homes.Multistreaming with https://restream.io/Public Meeting Online: Hosted By Homes For All UK

Posted by Axe the Housing Act- secure homes for all on Saturday, May 9, 2020

Or on our YouTube Channel.

Urgent Statement: Corona Virus and Housing – Protect Tenants and Homes

Facing this viral pandemic, the Government must act urgently to ensure no 
one is left on the street homeless, and that no-one loses their home due 
to the virus.

Therefore we must have urgent action to:

  • Immediately open up hotels and other empty buildings to house all the homeless
  • Ensure no evictions or repossession action during this crisis: suspend rent and mortgage liability for anyone whose income is cut due to the virus
  • Scrap the five-week wait for Universal Credit/housing benefit and 
    suspend all benefit sanctions

And as millions are living in overcrowded, unsuitable and unaffordable 
homes, we need immediate action with grant funding to:

  • Build 100,000 council homes a year at social rent with secure 
    tenancies.


We stand united – we won’t blame each other, we need action by 
Government now.

Download the statement.

We are making our statement into an online petition to Parliament, and will need
your help to get lots of people signing, to force Government to address 
it.  It is waiting for Parliament to process it; once it’s live, we will 
send the link.

Under mounting pressure, Government has made some steps:

  • Action to provide a roof for street homeless, at local discretion. 
    No move for the thousands in cramped temporary accommodation, sharing rooms, kitchens and bathrooms with other household
  • Mortgage payers can request a limited ‘holiday’
  • Ministers are ‘guiding’ courts not to process the 20,000 evictions 
    in the pipeline.  Further evictions are delayed for three months. 
    Renters are still being hassled to pay rent they can’t afford
  • No shift on five-week wait for Universal Credit; you can ask for 
    an advance, to be deducted from future payments
  • Work on luxury housing and other non-essential projects continues, 
    but no commitment yet on funding for future council housing

So this is still urgent, and our united voice can send an important 
message. We will update you on when the petition is ready for you to circulate and add your name.

Upcoming General Meeting – 18th January 2020, London

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Homes for All links tenants and housing campaigners, trade unions and others to defend the homes and rights we have, and win the homes we all need. Attend our next meeting in London and discuss how we can help win the fight for housing justice in 2020.

There are new MPs who say they represent us – can you help put pressure on your MP to support action on local and national housing problems?

The roll-out of Universal Credit means more people in rent arrears and more evictions.  Are you able to help build the ‘UC – no evictions’ campaign? Can we push for action locally, in the coming council elections?

Tenants have won the right to a vote before demolition of their estates, in some areas.  But temporary tenants are being bullied and manipulated in this process. What is the key to stopping unwanted estate demolition, and winning these ballots?

Grenfell and fire safety – how do we get action to stop more devastating fires, and ensure justice for Grenfell survivors?
Next General Meeting Details:

18th January 11am – 1pm at:

Unite offices, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB

Send your comments and ideas in advance if you can’t attend in person.

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