social housing

Grenfell Tower – the smoke & the mirrors

There is an ever-growing stream of media commentary on the Grenfell fire, increasing daily as the public enquiry unfolds. There are some elements in the media with the goal of obscuring or excusing the plain facts as part of a pre-emptive defence manoeuvre to protect those most implicated in what caused the fire and the 72 deaths. That they feel the need to use such distortions to defend the Grenfell landlords and those who ordered and oversaw the Grenfell refurbishment that fitted the lethal cladding only increases the suggestion of a general doubt on all sides about their innocence.

Tenants in Warsaw organize against high heating costs

In November 2017, the Warsaw Tenants’ Association (WSL) initiated a campaign against the high costs of heating. The most eager response came from women tenants in the South Praga district of the city. Many of these women are single mothers who struggle to make ends meet while working at home and for wages in low-paid jobs.

Elephant and Castle redevelopment shelved as residents storm Southwark Council

Protesters occupying the foyer of Southwark Council

Southwark Council has been forced to bow to community pressure, temporarily shelving the redevelopment of Elephant and Castle shopping centre on a night which saw anti-gentrification protesters storm the council's offices.

On the home front: Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth

An excellent three-part interview with Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth whose organising sees them fighting both private landlords and local councils to defend tenants.

Squatting in London: Precarity and Emergency Crisis Planning

Due to sustained attacks from the state, councils, and property owners, squatters in England have developed a capacity for emergency crisis planning whilst neglecting long term organising. This article examines why and briefly looks at attempts to reverse this trend.

Sisterhood and Squatting in the 1970s: Feminism, Housing and Urban Change in Hackney

Squat houses, Broughton Road, Hackney, 1983

A detailed look at squatting in 1970s Hackney, East London. Using oral history to recall how women squatting in the 1970s carved out a space for themselves to self organise in a decaying London, neglected by municipal structures. The article argues that by creating a physical space for themselves women in Hackney were able to shape and create the kind of feminist movement they wanted, which in turn helped them to create better places to live in.

The hidden history of housing

A grassroots history of housing, by Colin Ward.

The Monopoly board of the city: Grenfell Tower - where was the HCA, government housing regulator??

Person trapped in Grenfell Tower

The Homes & Community Agency(HCA) is the UK state regulatory body for social housing; its job is to monitor the performance, finances and provision of services of landlords. Missing from the media coverage of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster so far is any discussion of what relation the HCA has to this horror story of corporate murder. Given the years of complaints from Grenfell tenants(1) about their landlord the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation(KCTMO)(2), we can reasonably ask why the HCA never stepped in to investigate the terrible tenant-landlord relationship and the many fire safety complaints tenants had flagged up repeatedly before the fire broke out.

Smothered by regeneration: the Grenfell Tower fire

Grenfell Tower fire

Tenants at Grenfell Tower repeatedly warned the council and its management organisation about fire safety risks before a deadly blaze engulfed the 24-storey residential tower block.

Rent strike: St Pancras 1960

A crowd defends Kennistoun House, 1960

A detailed history and analysis of the militant St Pancras rent strike of 1960 against council rent increases written in 1972.