Jack Tafari, homeless activist has died
The link between rising homelessness and the criminalisation of squatting – May 2016
Squatters Action for Secure Homes (SQUASH) has been tracking implementation of section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (s144 LASPOA) since it came into effect in September 2012. Section 144 criminalises squatting in empty residential properties, gives the police new powers, and guilt is determined by a lay magistrate, rather than a trained judge. Since 2012, there have been at least 738 arrests, 326 prosecutions and over 60 convictions for the offence. The consequence of the new law, are now starting to be felt.
In The City: Mod & Ska 100%Vinyl
Friday 13th May 8pm – 1am
Night of Mod: 60’s R&B, Motown, Northern Soul, Jamaican Ska, Calypso & Rocksteady.
DJ’s: Lou Pino & DJ Lee (Resident DJ @ITC).
Benefit for Advisory Service for Squatters
Upstairs at T. Chances Venue, 399 High Road, London, N17 6QN.
Nearest Tube – Seven Sisters. Buses 41, 123, 149, 243, 279, 254, 476. N41, N73, N76, N279.
People might think something needs to be done about Shoreditch, but on the 3rd March an Interim Possession Order was granted on the whole of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard, including Shoreditch High Street station, the football pitches, the car wash and the “boxpark” shops.
Anyone in occupation at the time that the order was served should have left the land, and anyone using the station or the football pitches, or entering the shops could have been liable for arrest if accused of, or considered by police to be trespassing. How would they tell?
There was meant to be a follow-up hearing on the 10th at which the IPO might have come to an end, and at which a full possession order might have been made, giving Network Rail the right to bring in bailiffs to remove everyone from the land. That would be interesting.
The IPO was made by Mrs Justice Asplin DBE in the High Court, having agreed that service of the claim and application be reduced to 5 hours and 45 minutes. The claim doesn’t seem to have been served on all of the land covered by the order. A Guy Thornet for Network Rail had signed a statement that there was nobody else with any right to occupy the land, ignoring the thousands of people with a licence or tenancy to be on the land. This could be considered by some to be a criminal contravention of s75 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 as well as contempt of court.
The IPO itself was obviously not served on the whole of the land claimed, but was found on a mainly unused gate round the back. It was not in the correct format, but was cobbled together by Network Rail, and did not make clear what land was covered. So, all in all it would be pretty easy to argue against arrest and/or conviction, but it is concerning that an order was made that so clearly included land that wasn’t served and whose occupiers had every right to be there.
13-14 February: Weekend of Action: Love Council Housing, Stop the Housing Bill.
including Saturday 13th Charlie Chaplin walk from East Street market, 12.00;
Focus E15 stall in Stratford Broadway 12-2;
Sunday 14th 12-5 Housing Co-op history walk and screening of short films about housing, including Coin Street. More info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
13 March: National Demo: March For Homes – Against The Housing Bill, 12.00 Lincoln’s Inn.
The 14th edition of the Squatters Handbook is being worked on!
We are looking for relevant pictures (photos, cartoons, diagrams), offers of proof-reading or lay-out, any comments on anything in the last handbook or our current leaflets to correct or improve.
We don’t promise to use anything.
The next debate on the bill is the first week that MPs are back, on Tuesday 5 January. So we need to hit the ground running in 2016. Join the rolling demonstration outside parliament from 12 noon, followed by a Kill the Housing Bill campaign meeting inside from 5pm (allow 30 mins to get through security).
The Kill the Housing Bill campaign also has an organising meeting on Saturday 16 January, from 11am to 1pm at the Unite offices at 128 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8TN.
If you can’t make it to either of these events (and even if you can), you can also contact your MP and demand that they don’t let it through. You can find a template letter here.
Let’s stop this attack on homes for all!
The Housing and Planning Bill is one of the most dangerous and far-reaching pieces of legislation passed in this country in a long time, yet its true impact has been unreported in the mainstream press and is largely unknown to the general public.
If passed, the Bill will:
1) Replace the obligation to build homes for social rent with a duty to build starter homes capped at £450,000 in London and £250,000 in England;
2) Extend the Right to Buy to housing associations without the obligation to replace them, further depleting the number of hoems for social rent;
3) Compel local authorities to sell ‘high value’ housing, either transfering public housing into private hands or freeing up the land it sits on for property developers;
4) Force so-called ‘high income’ tenants with a total household income over £30,000 (£40,000 in London) to pay market rents;
5) Grant planning permission in principle for housing estates designated as such to be redeveloped as ‘brownfield land’;
6) Phase out secure tenancies and their succession to children and replace them with 2-5 year tenancies – with such tenancies also being applicable to tenants who have been ‘decanted’ for the purposes of redevelopment.
We’re not going to be open much until the new year, but we will be regularly popping in to pick up emails and messages, so, send us an email or leave a message on our answerphone and we’ll get back to you.
You can normally leave a message downstairs in Freedom Bookshop but they will be closed from 25th December to 3rd January.
Crisis at Christmas will be having their usual daycentres and emergency residential centres from 23 to 29 December in London (and elsewhere). The nearest pickup to us is outside Christ Church, Spitalifields, with buses between 9am and midday.
Check http://www.crisis.org.uk fro more details.
A homeless ex-soldier aged 82 died hours after he was evicted from his city centre squat.
Known only as George, he is believed to have passed away from bronchial pneumonia, a support group for veterans has revealed.