The past few weeks have seen a series of actions and events by York Welfare Campaign as part of the ongoing campaign around housing problems in York. Monday 14th May saw a well-attended public meeting featuring speakers on housing benefit, homelessness and council housing, while Saturday 26th was the date of York’s Here to Live, Here to Stay street party around housing, part of UK Uncut’s Great British Street Party day of action (photos, more photos).
May also saw the launch of York’s Housing Crisis (Facebook), an attempt to collect stories from people living in York about the problems they face around housing, whether from landlords, problems accessing benefit, housing associations or wherever else. Partly as a result of this, and contacts made at the public meeting previously, the Guardian’s The Northerner ran two articles (also published by the Morning Star) on the housing situation in York, as did local media group One & Other.
Further afield, families in Seville, Spain, have occupied an abandoned building after being evicted from their homes. The building – an apartment block which has lain empty since it was build – is now home to 36 families made homeless, whether by banks after being unable to make mortgage repayments or by landlords due to problems paying the rent. The squatters, who have been the subject of mass demonstrations in their support, have called on other families to do the same in light of the rise in evictions.
In Italy, meanwhile, activists from Occupy Pisa have occupied an abandoned sports hall as part of a series of actions taking disused buildings and putting them to popular use. Plans include renovating the sports facilities, providing spaces for adults and children, advice for workers and people concerned with debt, and a canteen providing affordable food.
Lastly, in the United States, activists from Occupy Our Homes have kept up the action, with anti-eviction rallies, actions and workshops taking place throughout the country.
On the back of recent events and coverage York Welfare Campaign is hoping to continue to build campaigns around access to suitable, safe and affordable accomodation in the city. Contact information is available on the website, while meetings are held every two weeks, with the next one being Tuesday 12th June (tonight) at 7:45pm in the Corner Pin pub just off Rougier Street.
Edit: since this post was first published the York Press have run a pair of articles on young people and housing, one of them focused on a recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the other focused on the situation in York for young people, particularly mothers.