East London resident fighting eviction again

by Linda Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Nadia Zaman has to fight once again (see ‘Protesters halt Nadia’s eviction’ below) — this time to stop her and her three children being relocated to Stoke-on-Trent. Nadia has lived all her life in Walthamstow, East London.

Eviction resistance in Walthamstow, London, 29.6.21.
Nadia addressing the crowd after bailiffs say
they’re not entering her home today!
Photo: Waltham Forest Socialist Party

She resisted eviction, and then accepted the council offer of a single room in nearby Leyton for her whole family. Her supporters are submitting a realistic plan on how she can be housed locally — given willingness to listen and with sensible flexibility on both sides.

But these plans could go down the drain now that Mears are involved – the private contractors have a £80 million deal to cleanse the borough of its poorest families, and ship them off to Stoke.

The prospect of being isolated away from family and community fills Nadia with dread – as it would anybody. It is grossly unjust — even cruel and inhuman.

Councillors must stop this crisis for Nadia right now. They should pull into line the council officers pressing ahead with the ‘offer’ of Stoke or ‘out on the streets’. They should respond to Nadia’s supporters’ proposal.

We are sick of the torrent of sad stories in the media about people in housing difficulties. We need action.

Take the profit motive out of housing provision. Instead, housing should be considered a social service. Build masses of council homes at council rents, not unaffordable tower blocks.


Protesters halt Nadia’s eviction

30TH JUNE 2021

by Mike Cleverly, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

It was the day Nadia had been dreading. On 29 June, the bailiffs were coming to put her, her three children and her belongings out on the street.

She has lived in Walthamstow, east London, for 38 years, and her children attend a local school. Every avenue to protect her home and children has been explored. Originally, the best Waltham Forest Labour council offered was a temporary home in Stoke-on-Trent, where this single mum of three has no family, friends or support.

Protesters gather to see of the baliffs
Photo: Martin Reynolds

On 29 June, we were outside Nadia’s home to resist the bailiffs. Our 80 ‘eviction resisters’ were pensioners, disabled people, young renters and Socialist Party members. The protest was called by the Socialist Party and supported by Waltham Forest Trades Council, the body that coordinates the unions in the borough.

The landlord’s agent came to inform us that the eviction would not happen that day, because of the number of people outside. Nadia will get a new eviction date, but we said we will be back with similar numbers whatever day they choose.

We will not be moved. We will not let the bailiffs pass.

A Labour councillor said the best the council’s housing department can now offer Nadia is one bedroom in a shared house in another London borough, Redbridge. Nadia rejected this as it’s unsuitable for her and her three children.

Many people are shocked that this can happen in one of the world’s richest cities. But Nadia’s case is not unusual.

Thousands of families, with their roots in London, are being transported miles away. This is the result of decades of austerity by Labour and Tory governments.

The sale of council homes, and the stock transfer of council housing to housing associations, has decimated housing that families like Nadia can afford. It is horrifying to realise that this Labour council treats such families no different to how they’re treated by Tory councils.

In the streets around where Nadia lives there are plenty of empty homes. On 27 June, Waltham Forest Socialist Party publicised the scandal of empty homes with a ‘pavement walk’ to blocks of flats standing empty in mockery of families living in cramped, damp accommodation.

In some cases, they have been on the 9,000-long waiting list for many years. We heard about families pushed around temporary accommodation for years, with children not knowing which school they will attend from one term to another.

We held an ‘open mic’, then walked the short distance to the nearest group of tower blocks. Our demands – ‘house the homeless’ and ‘take over empty homes’ – were echoed by the people we met.

Nadia will not be moved

At the eviction protest, Nadia spoke to particularly thank Socialist Party member Nancy Taaffe. Nadia met Nancy on one of our Socialist Party campaign stalls a year ago.

She remembered Nancy as someone with a fighting record locally. Nadia turned to her after getting nowhere with the councillors and Walthamstow Labour MP Stella Creasy.

This struggle is for Nadia and her children, but we know that there are thousands of cases pending, many in Waltham Forest and across every city in the country as the eviction amnesty is brought to an end. These families must not be left to fight on alone.


Eviction Resistance in Walthamstow!!

29TH JUNE 2021

by Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party

Socialist Party, Waltham Forest Trades Council, local people, the renters union, Unite community — in total over 70 people have turned up to support Nadia and help her stay in her home. Disgracefully Waltham Forest Labour Council has a policy of housing people to outside the borough, in this case a single parent with three kids, whose kids go to local schools and whose family (and therefore help and support) live nearby.

Socialist Party, and other campaigners, stopping eviction

The bailiffs are due today and she’s still not been offered anything! The end of ban on evictions means Nadia is not the only one. We’ll stand with Nadia and we’ll help organise in the borough through the trades council’s Housing Action Network to stand and fight with all those threatened. Councillors come here today!! Come on Grace Williams, Liquat Ali — come today to sort out Nadia’s housing! We’ll come to see you if you don’t come to see Nadia.

UPDATE: The bailiffs did not come today! Reprieve for now, but the fight goes on!


House Nadia!

21ST JUNE 2021

by Nancy Taaffe, London Socialist Party

House Nadia in one of the flats being built in Waltham Forest. If these flats being built are not for working class people, who are they for?

This is a photo of Nadia Zaman. Nadia’s relationship broke down and now she is facing a dire situation. She is facing eviction, along with her three children, aged 10, 8 and 4. She lives in a house where the rent is £1600 a month, and which even the council says ‘is not fit for human habitation’.

Nadia

When her husband left she had no means of paying the rent difference imposed by the benefit cap.

She and her three children have been served a bailiff’s letter to be out of their home by the 29th June. She has lived in this area for 38 years, all three of her children go to local schools. Her mother lives near by and they support each other after her father died from cancer last year.

Nancy says: “I met Nadia whilst selling The Socialist on the streets last year, I gave her my number. We are calling on people to attend a meeting in Stoneydown Park at 4PM on Tuesday 22nd June. We will have a leaflet done to publicise this case by the weekend, any help you can give ahead of this park meeting is appreciated.

We’re calling on the Labour-controlled council to house Nadia. We know that some developments in the area now have 50% occupancy. That means 50% are empty. We call on Labour councillors and the Labour MP Stella Creasy to intervene and get Nadia housed locally.

We will be producing a ‘Peoples Budget’ which we will use to campaign for the jobs, homes and services that we all need. We need council homes, not unaffordable private flats that sit empty whilst women and children are forced out.

Please come to Stoneydown Park next Tuesday at 4pm. Please tell your friends to help us.