England's Lane: Failure to offer security to Belsize families
Cllr Luisa Porritt and Cllr Tom Simon
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Christmas will be especially miserable for England’s Lane families
Amid all the bad news leading up to Christmas, the remaining families based at the England’s Lane Residence, temporary accommodation in our ward, are being moved out of their homes.
Camden Council often vaunts its commitment to protecting the most vulnerable residents during the pandemic, but it has failed to offer security to these homeless families.
Two years ago, when the Liberal Democrats put forward a budget amendment calling for washing machines to be installed at the hostel, we were told the council would not invest in on-site facilities – partly because it was considering giving up the lease.
When we queried why the council was taking so much money out of homelessness and temporary accommodation services – we’ve called for funding to be restored for the past two years – the cabinet member assured us new, better accommodation would be built to house those in need.
You may also want to watch:
The council has not built any new temporary accommodation, but it has given up the lease on the hostel early.
This means many families have been pressured to move out right before Christmas, even though the lease expires in March.
- 1 Camden's Levertons to arrange the funeral of Prince Philip on April 17
- 2 Royal Free ITU nurse who swapped the Caribbean for a Covid ward
- 3 Primrose Hill to close at night this weekend after antisocial behaviour
- 4 The questions council 'must answer' after spending £23m on £10m office
- 5 Hampstead, Highgate and Primrose Hill beer gardens reopening on April 12
- 6 Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Wait for second verdict could last 'until Easter'
- 7 Hampstead to trial unobtrusive electric vehicle charging points
- 8 How a 'terrifying' Hampstead spree of robberies was brought to an end
- 9 Calls for law change after Highgate School sexual abuse allegations
- 10 Pressure mounts on Jose Mourinho Spurs as his former club Man United
The council has continued this approach throughout the pandemic, and the only pause the cabinet member has agreed to is between the December 23 and 29.
This year has been grim for everyone, but spare a thought for these families being asked to move to places as far away as Wolverhampton and Bridlington during a pandemic.
Many are single mothers with multiple dependents who have fled domestic violence. Residents born in Camden, or who have lived here for up to 15 years, are being moved out of the borough.
Now we’re in Tier 4, the least the council can do is put this process on hold. Officers must work with residents to ensure accommodation offers suit their individual circumstances.
And the council should offer residents who have already been moved away the opportunity to return to the borough in future.
Camden is, after all, their home.
- Luisa Porritt and Tom Simon (Lib Dem) are Camden councillors for Belsize ward.