24 November 2015
Green Deputy Leader Shahrah Ali joins on housing march. Photo credit: Steve Lambert.
On Saturday 21st November, Green Party Deputy Leader Shahrar Ali joined local Greens at the Homes for All march in Walthamstow. Organised by Waltham Forest Housing Action, the march called for an end to evictions, the capping of rents, and an increase in social housing. Only 400 of 12,000 new homes planned in Waltham Forest in the next 5 years are for low earners, despite a council ‘waiting list’ of 20,000+. Waltham Forest is among the worst in London for placing homeless families outside of the borough with more than two-thirds of households not being housed in the borough. The extent of the crisis has deepened in recent years with 1,247 families now living outside of the borough, compared to 698 in 2012. The council’s own website states that there are approximately 16,000 applications for every 1,000 properties let.
Mr. Ali, who is also Londonwide candidate for the London Assembly, addressed the Homes for All rally in Abbotts Park.
Left: Shahrar Ali speaking at the Homes for All rally 21st Nov 2015. Photo credit: Diana Korchien.
He stated: "Alongside the local Green Party, I'm joining the march for homes called by Waltham Forest Housing Action. Low availability, rocketing rents and impossible house prices are forcing many out of the borough, disrupting communities and leading to claims of social cleansing. The council can't simply blame it all on Tory cuts, as the problem persisted even when Labour were in power."
The Homes for All march ended with a further rally in Walthamstow Town Square. Marchers included members of the National Union of Teachers, one of the key worker groups currently priced out of the area, and residents of Fred Wigg and John Walsh Towers, who will be faced with a reduction in council homes from 234 to 160, after the estate is regenerated.
Shahrar Ali concluded: "Greens will pursue a joined-up approach, that puts local communities at the heart of housing policy and council priorities. We would protect existing low-income tenants and residents. We would address key workers being priced out of the borough, often forced into a daily car commute, which only adds to the already serious problem of local air pollution.”
Steve and Ruth hold the Fred Wigg and John Walsh Towers banner. Photo credit: Diana Korchien.