On 31 January people from across the capital are marching on City Hall to demand solutions to the housing crisis and better housing for Londoners.
The March for Homes, co-organised by Defend Council Housing, has two assembly points: from East London assembling 12 noon in Shoreditch and South London 12 noon in Elephant & Castle. An accessible short march starts from Potters Field SE1. Marchers will protest together for a rally 2pm at City Hall.
The East London leg will be led by Focus E15, a group best known for their occupation of empty flats on the Carpenters Estate after they were evicted from their hostel and New Era 4 All, who recently prevented US property firm Westbrook taking over their estate and hiking up rents. It is supported by a wide range of groups and individuals including tenant organisations, trade unions and housing campaigns, London MPs, London Assembly members and East London councillors.
The March for Homes was initiated by Defend Council Housing, the South London People's Assembly and Unite Housing Workers.
The march is uniting everyone that opposes government and mayoral policies causing soaring rents, loss of council and housing association homes and rising homelessness, and is demanding action to end the housing crisis including:
· An end to the demolition of good quality council homes
· Rent control
· Scrapping of the Bedroom Tax and benefit caps
· Secure tenancies for all
· Stop scapegoating migrants
· Decent pay and conditions for housing and care workers
· A national programme of council housing investment
Supporters of the march include: Defend Council Housing, Peoples Assembly (London); community campaigns New Era, Focus E15, Fred Wigg & John Walsh, Our West Hendon; renters campaigns Generation Rent, Hackney and Tower Hamlets private renters; trade unions BECTU and Unite Housing Workers; Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Radical Housing Network, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and the London Green Party.
Diane Abbott MP and London Assembly member Darren Johnson are also supporting the march, and a student bloc from London universities calling for rent controls.
Jasmin Stone, Focus E15 Campaign said:
Im marching because we need to stand together side by side, hand in hand, fighting for decent homes for all! Focus E15 campaign are ready to make some noise on 31 January please join us as we march through the heart of East London! This is the beginning of the end of the housing crisis.
Eileen Short, national Chair of Defend Council Housing said:
Tenants from all tenures, public and private, campaigns and trade unions are determined to organise together to resist evictions. The growing housing movement will not swallow hollow promises and more empty luxury housing. The London Mayor and councils must act now to control rents and invest in council housing.
Alastair Stephens, Peoples Assembly (London) said:
Polls show that most people support rent controls, greater regulation of the private rented sector and a return to the mass building of council housing. Only these actions will solve the housing crisis. We will take these demands onto the streets on 31 January.
The East London march will be welcomed to Tower Hamlets by the boroughs Mayor Lutfur Rahman, Cabinet Member for Housing Rabina Khan and other councillors. Mayor Rahman said 'I fully support the March for Homes and am proud to see residents of this borough taking a stand over the housing crisis'. Cllr Khan added 'I look forward to welcoming the March for Homes to Tower Hamlets and will march alongside you on January 31st. It is shameful that successive governments have allowed prices to spiral out of control and consistently put the market before the interests of ordinary people.
Notes for editors
For interviews with housing campaigners and people affected by the housing crisis contact Katya Nasim on 07791018631
www.facebook.com/marchforhomes Web: www.marchforhomes.org Twitter: @marchforhomes #marchforhomes