'We have been failed': Newham families face eviction by council
- Credit: PEACH
Eighteen families face eviction from their council-owned properties following a decade-long battle for better living conditions.
Newham Council has confirmed it will not re-house 18 families who had lived in homes run by private company-turned-interim caretaker Mears.
The council said is it "activity engaging" to ensure the families have "other housing available to them".
On Wednesday (November 24) neighbours from the Custom House and Canning Town homes protested the decision outside the council's Building 1000 headquarters.
The tenants facing eviction previously lived in homes managed by Mears, before Newham Council intervened in June by taking back dwellings in Custom House.
Initially, the tenants toasted an apparent victory and the neighbour-led People's Empowerment Alliance for Custom House (PEACH) welcomed the move.
However, the happiness was short-lived, with PEACH's members now furious at the council's decision to deny 18 of those families replacement housing.
PEACH member Ruth Olusola, who is facing eviction, said: "We have fought together long and hard to get Mears out and improve our lives, why should we now be facing eviction and the private rental sector?
"For 10 years we have suffered at the hands of Mears and the council and now we are suffering again. The council must take our vulnerabilities into account.”
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Campaigners say the families have submitted additional medical evidence this week and are calling for the council to take this into "careful consideration".
“Many of us have mental and physical health issues that have worsened - we don't feel like ourselves anymore," said resident Chipo Chaya, who is also facing eviction.
Ruth added: “If the council transferred our homes to a different community landlord, we could stay in them.
"Over the last 10 years we have been failed, the council must exhaust every option to keep us in our homes.”
A Newham Council spokesperson said: “The council been actively engaging and supporting over 200 families who were housed by Mears for many months to assess their housing needs and ensure that they have offers of stable accommodation.
“We continue to actively engage with the remaining 18 households to ensure that they have other housing available to them and are assessing any new information that they provide us with.
"We encourage these households to continue the dialogue with us.”