by Alex Forbes, London Socialist Party
Housing activists in north London occupied 28 empty flats next to Pentonville Prison on 26 August. The activists in Islington say that the Ministry of Justice has failed to allow the flats to be retrofitted for the spiralling number of homeless people in the borough.
One activist said: “So many homeless families would love to live here. And we don’t need any more luxury flats here”.
Activists unfurled banners from the balconies with messages like “fill empty homes”, and more. A large number of police arrived to extract activists from inside, leaving two on the balcony.
Islington has a Labour council. But 1,000 local children are still waiting for secure accommodation. And the number is rising. Often, families are placed in bed and breakfast and hotel rooms, with a whole family sometimes put in one room.
Rent control, building council homes and putting families in need in empty properties would help solve this crisis.