Photo from last night's planning and action meeting of the Newham key workers facing massive rent rises by the Charitable Landlord, One Housing Group. The tenants are living in housing blocks that were handed over to the Housing Association in 1997 by Newham Council, in order to provide accommodation for predominantly low paid junior teachers, care workers, health workers, social workers and teaching assistants at reduced rents in order for them to work locally in essential public services. They are now facing huge overnight rent rises of up to 40%. Many of them cannot afford to pay the increases and face moving out of London or even eviction. Some of them have been there for 20 years.
I was there with local Canning Town North ward Councillor, Kay Scoresby, and my fellow West Ham Councillor, John Whitworth, to support the tenants. There was other supporters from trade unions and local trade councils as well as One Housing Group tenants from other parts of London.
I told the meeting that I had received yet another grossly inadequate "fob off" response from One Housing to my second letter to them. Our local MP, Lyn Brown, had also received a nonsensical reply to her letter. It is beyond belief that a regulated housing provider refuses to fully respond to questions from elected local and national representatives.
I made it clear to the meeting that unless I get proper replies to my questions I will have no alternative but to make a complaint to the Housing Regulator.
At the meeting tenants collectively and democratically decided to continue with the campaign and take things to the next stage. The senior management and Board of One Housing Group have so far ignored their polite requests to meet and discuss the issues with them, so they feel that they have no choice but to escalate their campaign. Watch this space.