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 closed The 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

Tue, 17:28

You may recognise singer Babs Savage from her annual appearances at the Hampstead Festival.

Mon, 21:26

Missing schoolgirl Isabella Newell has been found in Hertfordshire today after going missing on Saturday morning.

Mon, 16:46

A mother has told how two men attempted to smash into her Highgate home as she and her two young children cowered inside.

Mon, 11:53

Jubilee line drivers are to strike for two days next month in a row over new timetables.

Mon, 10:33

Jailed West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been told to expect to be convicted of new charges by an Iranian court.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Police are growing increasingly concerned for the welfare of a missing 12-year-old girl.

The mayor responded to Andrew Dismore last year in answer to questions in the London Assembly that “it remains my intention to deliver the whole of Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11) from Swiss Cottage to the West End”.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The redesign of the dangerous, polluted Swiss Cottage gyratory is worth celebrating in itself.


Wembley Sailing Club is hosting a Push the Boat Out event on Sunday May 20, where those interested in taking up the sport are invited to experience the club in action.

Preparing your child in advance for school will go a long way towards ensuring the very best start for your child.

After over 50 years in the acting industry, and a decade of unprecedented success delivering outstanding part-time performing arts tuition at her weekend Academies across the country, Pauline Quirke returns to her roots to create even more opportunities for young performers in North London.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

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