The housing domino effect…

The Sky City estate in the London borough of Haringey which is set for demolition

When we were checking through our news feed this morning, we came across this press release about yet another estate demolition in London being carried out by a Labour controlled council: Sky City, Wood Green – set for demolition (News release issued by Paul Burnham, Secretary, Haringey Defend Council Housing)https://www.facebook.com/paul.burnham.31/posts/10211012337199605 The tenants of the Sky City estate have been told they have no right of return after demolition and re-construction and no access to the new homes that will replace the ones they currently live in. This is because the new homes are not intended for use as social housing – this is being done in the name of re-generation which is the polite term for social cleansing. Effectively, the Sky City tenants have been told they’ll be getting re-housed out of the borough.

Now we don’t have any specific information as to where the Sky City tenants will end up but we wouldn’t be surprised if some of them end up living in Thurrock. There are precedents for people being socially cleansed from London being rehoused in London – this story is from 2015: Thurrock Council angry at Westminster plans to move homeless families to Essexhttp://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/thurrock-council-angry-westminster-plans-8929160 Basically what happens in these instances is that the London boroughs looking to offload people from their housing waiting list or tenants they’ve socially cleansed always seem to prevail over Thurrock Council when it comes to the bidding wars to secure tenancies with local landlords. With the amount of money coming into the coffers of London boroughs as they flog off their estates to private developers, they can afford to outbid Thurrock Council pretty much every time.

As you can imagine, this has a knock on effect: Thurrock UKIP claim homeless families may have to move as far away as Durhamhttp://www.yourthurrock.com/2017/03/07/thurrock-ukip-claim-homeless-families-may-move-far-away-durham/ We’re not in the least bit surprised to read this… A little bit of clarification – it’s highly unlikely that the homeless families are being moved to Durham itself. Durham is a university city, posh and by the standards of the North East of England, pretty pricey when it comes to rents.

It’s most likely they’ll be moved to one of the former mining villages and towns scattered across County Durham. Places that are isolated and suffering from deprivation. Given the brutal logic of an economic system that views housing as a financial asset to be traded instead of a basic human right, even deprived former pit villages have a role to play as locations to warehouse people socially cleansed from more affluent areas of the country. The fact that they’ll be stranded hundreds of miles from friends, family and any support networks they might have seems to count for nothing to the authorities.

This is why we need to support housing struggles in London because what happens in London when tenants are socially cleansed out of the capital directly affects us here and has a domino effect right across the country. Their struggle is our struggle. Not just for decent affordable housing but for an end to a system that sees housing as a financial asset regardless of the consequences in human misery.

The type of former pit village in County Durham where homeless Thurrock families could well end up being re-housed

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