Because of the looming threats to social housing from the Housing and Planning Bill, and the risks to social and private-sector tenants from planned benefit cuts, we are organising a new series of local public meetings, where people can learn about what’s happening and hopefully get involved in campaigning for the future of affordable housing.
The issues we’ll be talking about are summarised in our latest flyer, which you can read here and here . As you will see, there are a very wide range of people likely to be affected by these policies and benefit cuts – older people as well as those of working age, private as well as social-sector tenants (and anyone waiting for social housing), people with an earned income as well as those reliant on benefits, and many families with children.
The first public meeting will be in Armley, at 7pm on Thursday 5th May, at the Dennison Hall social club, Pinfold Lane, LS12 3LL – just off Armley Town Street in the main shopping centre.
The second public meeting will be in Middleton, at 7pm on Thursday 12th May, at St Cross church hall, Middleton Park Avenue, LS10 4HT.
We will need lots of help publicising these meetings, so please contact us if you can give a little time to helping on a stall, giving out some leaflets, or talking to other people in your neighbourhood or workplace, at the school gates or in your club, evening class, union branch, place of worship or anywhere else you can think of. Also, contact us if you know of a place around Armley or Middleton where it would be useful to leave some flyers or put up a poster.
Present plans are to do stalls in Armley Town Street on Thursday or Friday of the coming week in the late afternoon, and around noon on Saturday. The Saturday (April 16th) is also the day of a big demonstration in Leeds in defence of the National Health Service, so some of us will be there whilst others are in Armley, so help would be especially welcome then. The demo starts at 11.30am in front of the central library/art gallery – please share the Facebook event here
The week after that, we hope to do stalls in Middleton on the Friday (April 22nd) and the Saturday (April 23rd). Please let us know if you can help. Saturday 23rd is also the Leeds Summat – a gathering of people involved in community projects and social justice campaigns around Leeds. Hands Off Our Homes is doing a workshop there about housing issues at 11.30am – so again we will need help to make sure we can cover the workshop as well as doing a stall. Please also share the Facebook event for the Summat – see here
Latest news on the bedroom tax
We have some new advice to share about appealing against Housing Benefit (bedroom tax) decisions. According to a recent Upper Tribunal decision (which gives a legal precedent which future appeals tribunals should follow), to be classed as a bedroom the room “…should be capable of accommodating a single adult bed, a bedside table and somewhere to store clothes, as well as providing space for dressing and undressing.” You can read a discussion of this decision on Joe Halewood’s blog
here. If you think this applies to you, we suggest you appeal immediately. A suggestion for setting out your appeal is here – you will need to fill it out by explaining how your “spare” room fails to meet the criteria for a bedroom.
Please sign the petition against the Housing Bill here if you have not already done so – and share if you are on Facebook.
Also, get in touch with us if you want help to lobby your councillor or MP about the Housing Bill or about benefit cuts affecting tenants. We have put together some things you might want to tell them – see here
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading, and hope to see some of you soon.