Lambeth’s homeless families serve Gove with ‘eviction notice’

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

Homeless families marched on Government offices yesterday and served housing secretary Michael Gove an eviction notice.

About 80 protesters from campaign group Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth (HASL) gathered outside the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

They called on Mr Gove, who they accuse of presiding over the biggest homelessness crisis in Britain’s history, to commit to investing in more quality three, four and five-bedroom council homes.

Demonstrators outside the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities yesterday (Picture: Robert Firth)

Demonstrators held placards demanding homeless families stop being forced out of London, blew whistles and cheered as a piñata representing overcrowded temporary housing was broken.

One of the protesters, Aster Tewolede, and her teenage daughter, said they had been living in temporary accommodation organised by Lambeth council for 13 years.

The 46-year-old said: “The house is not good. It has damp problems and the room where my daughter sleeps is the size of a baby’s room.

“My daughter had grown up there. It’s been 13 years. Why don’t they give us a house?”

Children broke a piñata representing overcrowded temporary housing at the protest (Picture: Robert Firth)

Mum-of-two Lily Assefa said she and her family had been living in temporary accommodation in Sydenham, in Lewisham, for two years after Southwark council moved them out of their former home in Elephant and Castle due to repair problems.

She said: “My kids’ schools and my work are near Lambeth North Underground station, which is far from Sydenham.”

Analysis by the London Tenants Federation of City Hall’s housing data has found that only 2,465 low-cost four-bedroom and larger houses were delivered between 2012 and 2022, compared to 21,997 one and two-bedroom low-cost homes.

Michael Gove’s eviction notice (Picture: Robert Firth)

Elizabeth Wyatt, a HASL member, said: “This devastating housing emergency is ruining the lives of over 140,000 children in England. This is a political choice that has been made by this government for the last 14 years and it is absolutely unforgivable.

“But this can be turned around, it’s really that simple. We can solve the homeless crisis instantly with investment and expansion of high-quality, safe, secure, family-sized council homes that our communities need and deserve.”

A DLUHC spokesman said: “We are building more homes and boosting social housing supply. Our £11.5billion affordable homes programme will deliver thousands more affordable homes to rent and buy across the country. A total of £4billion of this has been allocated to the Mayor of London to deliver much-needed affordable housing in the capital.

“We are giving councils £1.2billion over three years to help provide financial support for people to find a new home and move out of temporary accommodation, including £568 million for London.”

Pictured top: Mum-of-two Lily Assefa (Picture: Robert Firth)

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