Hostel families ‘forced to choose between clean clothes or meals’

PUBLISHED: 09:30 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:30 17 November 2017

The laundry room has been shut at England's Lane Hostel for five years

The laundry room has been shut at England's Lane Hostel for five years

© Nigel Sutton email

Camden Council has refused to install laundry facilities at a temporary accommodation block for families with residents complaining that some of them were being forced to spend £30-a-week on laundry.

The launderette on England's Lane that hostel residents have used since their own building's facilities were closedThe launderette on England's Lane that hostel residents have used since their own building's facilities were closed

Until five years ago, there was a laundry room in the England’s Lane Hostel, in Belsize Park, which Camden Council has run as a temporary accommodation block since 2004.

When the council closed the laundry room, it told residents it was due to their bad treatment of the facilities.

Families in the building now have to use a local laundrette which they say they cannot afford.

While in England’s Lane they are expected to become financially independent.

Mother-of-two Vera Perez, said she was forced to choose between washing her children’s clothes or giving them proper meals.

“If you have a child who is poorly, and is throwing up every day, then you don’t have a choice. You have to wash their clothes. So if you’re doing that a few times in a week, it can be as much as £30,” she said.

She believes she deserves a better service for what she pays in temporary accommodation. “It’s a need, not a luxury. We pay a service charge, as well as our rent and council tax. We should be getting these facilities. We have offered to draw up a rota for cleaning the room and making sure it is used properly.”

The 44-year-old, who has lived at England’s Lane since April 2014 said it also affects her health. “I can’t dry clothes in my room, it isn’t big enough or has good enough ventilation to do so, and it affects my asthma.”

A charity currently provides a free laundry service at Camden Council’s other family hostel, Levine and Abbotts. There is a free council laundry room at Belmont Hostel, where residents share all facilities.

Councillor Meric Apak, Cabinet Member for Better Homes said: “The laundry was in the building when we took up its lease in 2004, and while we attempted to keep it running for a number of years, unfortunately, it was not fit for purpose, with 150 households attempting to use the room with six washing machines and six driers. Camden Council is not obliged to provide a laundry service at the hostel and following incidents of anti-social behaviour and vandalism, regretfully took the decision to close the room.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:07

A sixteen year old boy has been charged with grievous bodily harm with intent over the Billy Fury Way stabbing which left another teenager in a “critical condition” in hospital.

Yesterday, 15:54

Only the wind in the trees and the sound of planes passing overhead could be heard at Highgate Cemetery yesterday morning, as it marked Armistice Day.

Lucy Casey has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the “unbelievably brutal attack” that killed Hannah Leonard.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell slammed Barnet Council’s controversial Capita contracts as “a really good example of the iniquities of outsourcing” – but Barnet leader Cllr Richard Cornelius hit back and appeared to rule out bringing the outsourced services back in-house under his administration.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

December 8 will see a parade of beards and red woolly hats at Alexandra Palace as, for the first time, YMCA North London holds a Santa Run at the historic Haringey location.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Highgate Newtown’s historic Konstam Nursery has unveiled a commerorative mosoaic celebrating its links to the First World War.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

When the sound of rockets was heard across north London on November 11, 1918, some feared for their lives.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Jamie Brown, of Archant Local Impact, explains how to make your business stand out from the crowd


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now