Lambeth Clearances continue, more low-waged residents displaced

by More Street Cleaning and less Social Cleansing, please

The actions of Lambeth council are more and more frequently being referred to as ‘Clearances’, referencing the Highland Clearancesof the 18th and 19th centuries in the North of Scotland.

This is an extract from the Wikipedia page,

“The clearances were particularly notorious as a result of the late timing, the lack of legal protection for year-by-year tenants under Scots law, the abruptness of the change from the traditional clan system, and the brutality of many evictions”.

Now compare that to Lambeth’s treatment of ‘Shortlife’, Lambeth’s ‘timing’ has been disgusting… I’ve been threatened with eviction since 1997, but the (non-existent) licences weren’t terminated until 2009. I’m sure most other residents have suffered the same degree of uncertainty, stress and instability as I have, for more than 15 years.

The way Lambeth set up ‘Shortlife’ ensured their complete lack of responsibility, legally, for either the tenants or the buildings occupied.  Lambeth have consistently refused to accept any type of ‘rent’, because they’re afraid of being legally liable for something (anything!). We all paid rent to our respective Co-ops, the houses couldn’t be maintained otherwise, doh! But most damning for Lambeth council and their cynical treatment of ‘Shortlife’ tenants, after 34 years in residence, with a legal license to occupy, I seem to have no legal rights.

The forced move from our Co-ops (without any consultation, contrary to what the council continually say) into the ‘normal’ social housing system, has been extremely traumatic for many people, there are numerous examples of serious mental health issues that have arisen since people have been torn from their supportive communities.  Many of us are having to move from suitably sized, well repaired and maintained homes, into housing that can only be described as ‘dumps’. No matter how much Lambeth council bleat on about how the money raised from the sale of our homes will be used to repair other council properties, the fact that Lambeth council have consistently failed to manage their own properties, and their ALMOs – Lambeth Living and United Residents – are riven with mismanagement and fraud, shows that any extra money they decide to spend on housing will, in all likelihood, be money down the drain.

But the point of the exercise isn’t to raise money for housing in Lambeth, the point is to remove Housing Co-ops that have flourished without Lambeth’s intervention; remove low-waged residents from established or up-and-coming areas of gentrification; and to get rid of as much ‘council’ housing as it can. Lambeth council don’t want to be in the ‘housing’ game, they want that messy work farmed out to Housing Associations, ALMOs and private developers. Is that the only way Lambeth council can clean up the mismanagement and fraud in the heart of their Housing Department?

Lambeth Living, per year, spend approx £13,000,000 on repairs, out of £23,000,000 received from Lambeth… what do they spend the other £10,000,000 per year on?