Report back from Housing Summit – and next steps

Tremendous thanks to everyone who attended the Housing Summit on Saturday, and who helped to make it a really informative and productive day. If you couldn’t attend the Summit, we hope you will find the notes informative, and will stay in touch and get involved with the campaign. We have a load of information to share with you now, so read on to find out what we discussed, follow links to the presentation by our brilliant keynote speakers, and see how to get involved with the campaign.
STOP PRESS – read Joe Halewood’s comments on Wednesday’s budget, and his assessment of the wreckage left by IDS, as well as posts spelling out the damage caused by the Housing Bill and cuts to Housing Benefit. Joe (SPeye) Halewood
OK…….the Summit:
1) To progress with the campaign, we all need to stay in touch. We have made a list of al the attendees who gave permission for their email addresses to be shared, showing where they are from and/or what organisation they belong to or work in. If you didn’t attend but would like to be added to the list of people willing to be contacted by others on the list, please email us with your locations and organisation (if any).
2) We have put together the ideas and action points from the afternoon’s discussion – see here (and add to it if you think we have missed anything!) Action points/ideas from Summit
 
3) One of the ideas from the Summit was to create a campaign pack including information and resources for campaigners. To start you off we have the slides presented by Quintin Bradley and by Joe Halewood, as well as a longer presentation which Quintin did at a previous meeting. Here are the links:
 
4) As a first step, we would now encourage everyone on this list and on our own contact lists to write to their councillors and to lobby them at their surgeries. To help with this we have put together some points which people may wish to use to educate their councillors, to ask them what they plan to do about the impacts of government policy in their city, and to ask them to write to all residents and organise public meetings to explain these matters to everyone and give people the chance to question them. The document is here  Suggestions for lobbying councillors
 
If you live in Leeds you can find the dates and venues for your local councillors’ surgeries, and their email addresses, here Find your councillors
 
There will be a lobby of Chapel Allerton (Leeds) councillors – it will probably be Cllr Jane Dowson – at 11.15 on Saturday 2nd April, at Chapel Allerton library. If you live in the Chapel Allerton/Chapeltown ward, please come along (email us if you need more info or to let us know you are coming). 
5) We also encourage all housing association tenants to lobby their HAs – suggestions about what to ask them are in the Action points/ideas from Summit document.
6) We encourage housing workers and service providers to get in touch with people in their won fields of work and get them involved
7) Some of us met on Monday to decide on the next steps for Hands Off Our Homes in Leeds:
  • To start producing a resource pack with slides, an info sheet, a shorter and more readable flyer for stalls etc, and a model letter which we will urge the council to send out to all Leeds residents (for an example of such a letter see Glyn’s email about the Islington campaign below.
  • We plan to start setting up public meetings in local areas in Leeds – the first one in Middleton (date to be confirmed). To build for this we need people to volunteer to help with stalls and door-knocking in the area. Please contact us at this address or on 07930966205 to get involved
  • We encourage everyone to think of helping to set up a public meeting in their own area – we will of course help with this, but it would be good to have local knowledge and contacts to publicise it and to find suitable venues. If anyone knows of suitable (and cheap/free) venues in their area, please let us know. Church halls, social clubs etc are possibilities.
8) Finally, below is a letter we received from Glyn in Islington with information about the campaign down there, and links to the letter they persuaded their council to send out to tenants. There’s also a link to a video about the excellent demo in London on Sunday.
 FROM GLYN
Below is a link to my Facebook page with the letter that Islington Council sent to all its tenants. We did ask that it go to all residents (as nearly everyone is going to be affected by the Bill in some way or another), but what they did was certainly better than nothing – which I think is what they would have done if we hadn’t put pressure on them.  But it’s absolutely essential that they don’t just send a letter.  They have to call a public meeting too.
I’m attaching the model motion for union branches.  (see attachment)
Not sure if you saw anything about the excellent demo in London yesterday, but here’s a short video to give you a flavour:
BUT, we have to make this a national, not a London, issue.  After Saturday, Leeds/Yorkshire can lead the way.  Happy to help in any way I can.
Finally, below is a motion that has been put to a couple of Councils in London (it started with the Southwark Tenants Council) and spells out some of the specific demands we talked a bit about on Saturday.
Best wishes
Glyn
Islington Kill the Housing Bill calls on Islington Council to refuse to implement the Housing Bill and in particular to:

  • Not collect data on the incomes of tenants
  • Not introduce higher rents for some tenants as part of the government’s pay to stay scheme, or any local variant involving a taper system
  • Continue to issue secure tenancies to all new tenants
  • Not sell off “high value council homes” and refuse to pay the levy imposed by the government to fund Right to Buy to housing association tenants
  • Call on the Council Trade Unions to support non co-operation with the Housing Bill and resist any attempt by council chief officers or Government appointees to force through implementation
  • Call on TRAs and Area Forums to support the Council’s position of non-co-operation with the Housing Bill
  • Propose a joint campaign of non-co-operation with other Councils opposed to the Bill
and
  • Call Ward Partnership meetings to inform Islington residents of the implications of the housing bill with a view to resist it
  • Support the national demonstration against the Housing and Planning Bill on 13/3
  • See this as a long term struggle and to plan accordingly
Well, that’s about it for now! Don’t forget that more info about the Housing and Planning Bill, including the briefing against the Bill (useful for lobbies, stalls and meetings), can be found on the Defend Council Housing website at http://defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/
Thanks again everyone for attending on Saturday, and thanks in advance for getting involved
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