Activists from Corporation Town outside a property in east London preventing the eviction of a family (Image: Phil Harris)
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Furious protesters created a blockade on a street in east London to stop a council evicting a mum and her three children.
Some 70 friends, neighbours and supporters joined an impromptu demonstration in Lime Street, Walthamstow, this morning after word spread bailiffs were trying to force the occupants from their terraced home.
The unnamed woman has reportedly lived at the address her entire life, but it is understood her private landlord has been trying to move her on, reports MyLondon.
However, when the protesters refused to budge, the bailiffs eventually left.
If the eviction had gone ahead, housing the family-of-four would have become the responsibility of Waltham Forest Council.
Are you the mum who is facing eviction or a family member? Get in touch at [email protected]
The mum and her children allegedly faced living in a one-room accommodation
(Image: Phil Harris)
They had allegedly been told that accommodation might have "just one room", which the occupant labelled “totally unfair”.
The mother and her children, aged 4, 8 and ten, would also have to share bathroom and kitchen facilities with other families.
A demonstrator at the scene claimed the mum had been told she faced being moved outside of London – away from her family.
Up to 70 demonstrators formed a blockade on Tuesday morning
(Image: Phil Harris)
Stoke-on-Trent was mentioned as a possibility, which is 170 miles away from England's capital.
However, the council has said it has found interim accommodation for the family in London if and when the eviction is completed.
The group of protesters was led by campaign group London Renters Union and community food group Cooperation Town, a community-led food co-op of which the mother is a member.
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Peter O’Kane, a retired former assistant director of housing for a different borough and LRU and Unite Community East London member, said the tenant and council have known the eviction was coming since 2019.
He said: “The council has told her that they want to place her in what is called Zone C, which is basically outside London – some distance outside London.
“She has lived all her life, as have her three kids, in London.
“Her support network – mother, sisters, brother are all in this area of Walthamstow.
“As a single parent on benefits she would be all alone, unsupported outside London. We don’t know where, the council hasn’t said where it wants to put her.
“Potentially that could be somewhere like Stoke. That’s 170 miles and a lot of money by train [away]."
He argued there are plenty of empty properties in the area, which could be used by the council to re-home people within the same area.
Mr O'Kane added the council offered her the one room option on the day of the proposed eviction.
The mother herself added she is “so happy” with the support she received, and wanted to say “thank you to everyone”.
She added that she is unhappy with the council, claiming that she has emailed them “every day” and is “not getting a good response back”.
Mr O’Kane added that he feels the council are moving "low income" people out of the area in order to save money, without regard for their wellbeing.
The family, with the help of Mr O'Kane, plan to challenge the offer of one room as unsuitable.
Protest organiser Shaunna Ruston
(Image: Phil Harris)
Shaunna Rushton, a neighbour and organiser for community food co-op Cooperation Town feels the council is failing families that need its support.
Cooperation Town helps families to lower their food costs by at least a third by organising shopping with neighbours.
Shaunna described this as “essential for working class families”, adding: “The council have relied on people like us during the pandemic.
“Dropping food to shielders, childcare, lowering each others’ food bills.
“We have looked after the community where the council has failed. So they should be thanking us, rather than evicting our neighbours and friends," she said.
The Mirror has contacted the council for comment.