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Southwark leads the way

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Southwark leads the way

For two years running, Southwark has been evicting more council tenants than any other London borough.

 

A year or so ago, we looked at the Ministry of Justice data on eviction proceedings and evictions, which spanned from 2003 to 2014.

During the 11 years, the number of evictions from council and/or housing association homes in Southwark remained high.

Social landlord evictions             
  Camden City of London Greenwich Hackney Hammersmith Islington Kensington & Chelsea Lambeth Lewisham Southwark Tower Hamlets Wandsworth Westminster
2003 205 3 316 380 112 356 66 362 297 538 208 185 141
2004 120 0 275 353 117 302 56 275 308 508 129 195 105
2005 129 0 369 466 139 257 54 323 268 492 155 167 121
2006 114 0 277 374 161 191 75 386 315 534 186 141 99
2007 101 0 204 337 101 167 68 319 275 422 159 148 120
2008 91 0 227 248 115 199 70 458 242 363 161 171 127
2009 103 0 202 179 145 125 85 397 299 435 153 161 110
2010 85 3 237 259 112 199 59 423 245 475 171 127 83
2011 97 0 184 208 126 172 78 439 214 372 147 151 118
2012 97 0 177 220 120 139 83 336 178 348 138 147 113
2013 64 0 136 241 109 141 50 335 196 335 168 138 68
2014 25 0 44 44 22 33 12 87 58 108 47 47 27

 

Most recently, Department for Communities and Local Government published the housing data for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. And Southwark again has the largest number of evictions, for two years running.

Evictions from social housing 2013 to 2014 
Southwark 227
Lambeth 130
Hackney 106
Greenwich 102
Newham 100
Lewisham 96
Barking and Dagenham 93
Croydon 90
Haringey 82
Islington 73
Wandsworth 63
Hounslow 54
Camden 50
Enfield 47
Brent 44
Havering 43
Ealing 39
Waltham Forest 39
Hillingdon 36
Tower Hamlets 27
Hammersmith and Fulham 26
Sutton 24
Westminster 17
Kensington and Chelsea 16
Barnet 13
City of London 10
Redbridge 10
Harrow 6
Kingston upon Thames 4
Bexley 0
Bromley 0
Merton 0
Richmond upon Thames 0

 

Evictions from social housing 2014 to 2015 
Southwark 218
Greenwich 100
Hackney 97
Lambeth 95
Haringey 93
Newham 78
Barking and Dagenham 73
Wandsworth 71
Lewisham 65
Croydon 58
Havering 58
Ealing 55
Islington 51
Sutton 49
Camden 47
Enfield 45
Waltham Forest 41
Hounslow 40
Hammersmith and Fulham 37
Tower Hamlets 32
Hillingdon 28
Kensington and Chelsea 27
Brent 25
Westminster 14
Barnet 13
Harrow 8
Redbridge 8
City of London 7
Kingston upon Thames 1
Bexley 0
Bromley 0
Merton 0
Richmond upon Thames 0

 

The 'Labour' administration started charging council tax to people who were previously exempt (disabled people, people in receipt of other benefits), in spite of a huge number of voluntary sector bodies warning them not to. In 2013, thousands of residents were in arrears and were promptly summonsed to Camberwell Magistrates Court to be pushed deeper into debt (because this was 'fairer for all'). Cllr Richard Livingstone came along to the protest, to blame everyone but themselves.

One resident recently shared their struggles to 'downsize' - they had, voluntarily, told the council they wanted to downsize and were still waiting as one bedroom homes are like golddust. In the meantime, the resident is being forced to pay the bedroom tax in spite of council's claims about support they were providing to residents etc. Once the council tax, bedroom tax and energy bills are deducted from their benefits, they're left with around £1 a day for food/toiletries.

A little while back, court ruling found the council to be gatekeeping, and Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth have been keeping a fully detailed record of experiences of people trying to access services at the council's housing offices on Bournemouth Road.

Just over a week ago, a Camberwell resident stumbled upon something happening at the Elmington and took these disturbing photos:

1902201601 1902201602 1902201603

 

We suspected this was the final part of Aminata and her family's story, and were right. An eyewitness writes: "In the early hours of 11th February, some 50 bailiffs and police broke into Amanata home on Benhill Road, and forcibly removed her and her family. The eviction was organised by Southwark Council. The bailiffs refused to give her any time to pack her belongings and also refused to allow her to dress properly. They pushed her young children who were also at home at the time and physically dragged her from her first floor flat. She was badly bruised and then arrested by police. Southwark Council officers were present. Her elder daughter arrived at the home and took responsibility for the other three children and was given an hour to gather the family’s possessions. Amanata was brutally treated whilst in police custody and fainted. She was taken to Lewisham hospital to be treated. Finally released from hospital she remained under arrest and was charged at Lewisham police station with ‘attacking a police officer’, which she completely denies. Southwark Council Housing Department, whose manager is Anthony Jones, has not offered any temporary accommodation for the family nor for the other families evicted from the block. There were two other families who had their homes broken into, all their possessions removed and one family who returned in the afternoon were arrested for ‘trespass’. These families lived in very run down conditions owned by Southwark Council who did not make arrangements for alternative accommodation. The block is now cleared ready for a private contractor to destroy the building and build private development apartments in the Camberwell area."

And then there is the Savills' report which condemns most of us (still) living in Southwark's dwindling council stock.

And then there's the scandalous amount of council homes not 'lost' but deliberately destroyed and not replaced through 'regenerations'.

All of the above has absolutely nothing to do with any of Southwark councillors or council officers but instead everyone else everywhere else.

They are building 11,000 new council homes and oppose the Housing Bill, so there.

See also:

Evictions and resistance: on the front lines of London's housing crisis

Updated 25th February 2016:

Southwark News report on the second Elmington Estate eviction which also took place on 11th February.

 

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