Make our houses homes: Lewisham residents demand housing improvements

Protesters from across Lewisham came together on Wednesday to call for quicker action on poor housing conditions across the borough. 

Dozens of members of the Lewisham Citizens group convened at Lewisham Town Hall to call on council leaders to fulfill their commitments made almost a year ago to improve housing conditions.

During the demonstration residents shared their stories of housing struggles, including persistent issues with damp, mould, unanswered maintenance requests and overcrowding, and inadequate responses from the provider.

Lewisham Citizens protesting housing conditions (Picture: Lewisham citizens)

The action marks almost one year since Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, made public commitments to implement a number of policy solutions designed by residents. 

The proposed changes include a new approach to auditing housing conditions, clarifying escalation processes, and cultural competency training for council staff. 

Sophie Gregory, 26, from the Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network, said: “Everyone deserves a safe place to live, to build a future. 

“Too many people are living in unacceptable conditions in our borough, and across the UK.

“To build true sanctuary for everyone, we must improve housing as a priority.” 

The housing organisation Lewisham Homes provides housing for thousands of people on behalf of the council, including large numbers of resettled refugees and other people from sanctuary seeking backgrounds – many of whom have faced housing difficulties. 

As a recognised council of Sanctuary, Lewisham has publicly committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all sanctuary seekers within the borough.

Councillor Sophie Davis, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Homelessness, said: “Everybody has the right to a safe, secure and good quality home and we are committed to improving housing conditions across Lewisham.

“We are already taking action to address disrepair issues in Lewisham Homes properties, with a repairs improvement plan in place and an additional £1m being invested in tackling damp and mould.

“We will continue working with Lewisham Citizens on this and other housing issues, as well as lobbying the Government for the funding we need to invest in existing council homes and build new social housing.”

Pictured Top: Lewisham Citizens protesting housing conditions (Picture: Lewisham Citizens)

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