3 February 2018
Sign the petition here - petition against transfer of council housing
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Details of the petition below:
We the undersigned petition the council to abandon its plans to transfer council housing allocated for use as temporary accommodation to a new organisation and raise the rents to around 250% of the current rents. Since 2015, when the Council decided to "regenerate" our council estates, it has only been letting empty properties on Cambridge Road Estate as temporary accommodation, so that the tenants have no rights and can be evicted at short notice and put in a hostel or B&B, possibly outside the Borough, when it is ready to demolish their homes. So these tenants are already living in very stressful circumstances, with no idea for how much longer they'll have a home in Kingston.
On 23 January 2018 the Housing Sub-Committee decided to create a new organisation, which it's calling a Community Benefit Society (CBS) to make it sound like a good thing, which will take over any council housing used, or reserved for use, as temporary accommodation and then massively raise the rents for same. The Council says it needs to do this because the Government has given it new homelessness duties and insufficient funds to cover them but we say that it cannot be right to punish Kingston's poorest and most vulnerable residents to raise these funds. The Council says that because private landlords are profiting from the situation and charging the maximum Local Housing Allowance to accommodate homeless people in need, it is therefore unfair that people temporarily housed in council housing should only pay the much lower council rent. We say that it is far more unfair for the Council to make some people pay 2-3 times more rent than their neighbours in similar, even adjacent, properties and the Council should be building more council housing so that it isn't at the mercy of private landlords, not making life more difficult for Kingston's most vulnerable residents.
Even if Housing Benefit would cover the rent hike at the moment, increasing the rent will only make it harder for those affected to be able to earn enough to pay it themselves and get off benefits and the Government could cut Housing Benefit at any time, leaving tenants desperately struggling to make up any shortfall. These tenants are at risk of being summarily evicted if they are unable to pay their rent due to the widely-reported long delays with payment of Universal Credit and the rent hikes will mean that for some tenants the benefits cap will kick in, leaving them without enough money to feed their children and pay the bills.
Please sign this petition to confirm that you wish to 'Call-In' item 2 on the Housing Sub-Committee Decision Notice entitled 'Creation of a Community Benefit Society' so that it can be re-considered by full Council
Started by: Derek Moss
Kingston Green Party members meet once a month - informally sometimes at the Druid's Head and sometimes at 'Wag n Tales' on the first Wednesday of the Month and more formally at the Kingston Environment Centre on the third Tuesday of the month.
Our next formal meeting is on May 21st at the Kingston Environment Centre - at 7.30