By Joe Talora, local democracy reporter
Mayoral candidates Sadiq Khan and Shaun Bailey will tonight hear testimonies from Londoners impacted by the housing crisis as community organisers demand action.
Organised by London Citizens, a chapter of community organising charity Citizens UK, tonight’s accountability assembly will see the leading candidates in the mayoral race hear the issues facing Londoners as they are asked to sign up to a people’s manifesto.
Caroline Verdant, an affordable housing campaigner and co-chair of this evening’s event, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that she hopes the event will help to “build relationships with whoever the next mayor will be”.
Ms Verdant said: “Tonight, we’ll be sharing our manifesto with the two candidates and seeing where they can help or how they can implement some of the issues that we work on if they become mayor.
“I was born and bred in Newham, lived in Newham, went to school in Newham. I was priced out of the housing market in Newham. The Olympics came along, and there was a promise to the people in the community that the housing and the apartments that the Olympians had, after that, the legacy that would be left was for there to be affordable housing on the Olympic park.
“That never happened. They didn’t keep their promise. And because of that, money came into Newham and the housing prices went up due to the Olympics being held in Newham and a lot of people had to move out, and I was one those people because I could no longer afford to live in Newham.”
Affordable housing is one of five main issues that London Citizens will be demanding action on, with the people’s manifesto also including calls for improvements to youth safety in the capital as well as a commitment to make London the first living wage city.
A product of conversations with thousands of Londoners, the manifesto also calls for easier and fairer systems to help Londoners settle their immigration status, as well as a call for 60,000 green jobs and apprenticeships.
Ahead of tonight’s accountability assembly, Caroline Verdant said that “real change is people-powered” and that “Sadiq Khan and Shaun Bailey must listen to communities and this manifesto set democratically by thousands of Londoners.”
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