Yes, the empty homes day of action was a great success, with people joining events in Southwark, Newham, Islington, Haringey, Milton Keynes and Harlow. Live streams from some of these events were fed into the online rally, giving it the feel of a live news report, but without the tech capacity or boring conservatism (small c) of the established media. Instead it was punchy, pacey and politically cutting edge, with all the speakers and live streamers giving incisive and detailed analysis with radical, forward looking proposals. Especially loved Jon Glackin from Streets Kitchen, who spoke about homeless people taking over empty buildings, and John Bird pledging support from the Big Issue, and calling us “comrades”. Crucially, this was a solidarity rally, with so many links being made. This bodes well for the next day of action in October.
Special thanks go to all the live streamers. You were the stars of the show!
We are joining with Action on Empty Homes for an ‘Empty Homes Day of Action’ on Saturday April 17th 2021 Join us!
Rally 11am to 12pm, Saturday 17th April
Online rally with national speakers 11am – 12noon John Bird Founder Big Issue, Steve Turner Assistant General Secretary Unite Will McMahon, Action on Empty Homes, Tanya Murat, Homes For All, Jon Glackin, Streets Kitchen, Ellen Clifford Author, Disabled People Against Cuts, Moyra Samuels Grenfell Campaigner, Tyrone Scott Shelter, Hannah Berry Greater Manchester Housing Action
4. Haringey action: Saturday 17th April – 11.15 for 11.30 live stream to #EmptyHomes Rally outside Apex Gardens Seven Sisters Road / Junction Tottenham High Road Facebook event
Other events taking place include Harlow, Rochdale, Milton Keynes.
The Day of Action on 17th April aims to raise public awareness of the rising number of long-term empty homes and homes without a permanent resident in England.
Government and market data show there are around:
270,000 long-term empty homes
260,000 second-homes without no permanent resident
120,000 Airbnb type short-lets (London Councils estimate there are 80,000 short-lets in London alone)
We are calling this Day of Action for three reasons:
The pandemic has highlighted the health impacts of Temporary Accommodation and overcrowding – it has created a health emergency.
The wrong kind of housing is being built in metropolitan areas.
Building the wrong kind of housing has created a crisis of affordability.
What will happen on the Day of Action?
Campaigners will be staging photoshoots using campaign banners and placards outside new developments that do not contain any social housing, decanted council homes, housing association empty homes and older large residential properties that are long term empty.
We will gather all the photoshoots and put them on our national websites and issue both local and national press releases for publicity purposes and demonstrate the breadth of support for the Day of Action. We aim to build a national picture of the problem.
How you can get involved
1. Organise your own local photoshoot or selfie for the Day of Action. Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org See below a step by step guide to organising your local event.
2. Order some of Day of Action posters for your photoshoot from Will at Action on Empty Homes – make a £10 donation to Action on Empty Homes to help us cover our costs – they will be available on Monday 22 March.
To order posters: E-mail email@example.com
The posters will carry the following messages and hashtags:
‘We are in a housing & health emergency!’ ‘Take Action on Empty Homes’ ‘Why is this home empty?’
Southwark Defend Council Housing has been leading the campaign to #RequisitionEmptyHomes #FillEmptyCouncilHomes since Spring 2020 when it became obvious that the Coronavirus pandemic was killing people in overcrowded housing and homeless people at a much greater rate than the general population. Now, following the successful Homes 4 All Summit in February, Homes 4 All have agreed to take this campaign forward in collaboration with Action on Empty Homes.
To see the Southwark DCH petition and open letter to Southwark Council click here
To see the Southwark DCH arguments for councils to requisition empty homes click here
For more exciting facts about the successful post war peoples’ movement to requisition empty homes by Sam Burgum click here
Interested in organising an empty homes photoshoot your area? Below are all the resources you will need.