Homelessness – Not in My Name

Homelessness – Not in My Name

Looters or rioters who own their own homes will be punished through the justice system and they will keep their homes. This is unjust and undemocratic.

Whilst we understand that those breaking the law need to be punished and justice needs to be served to those victimised by the riots, evicting people from council housing is restricted to those receiving state benefits, already on the lowest incomes. Looters or rioters who own their own homes will be punished through the justice system and they will keep their homes. This is unjust and undemocratic. We cannot be so specific as to who keeps their home and who does not. Are murderers and rapists more deserving of their council houses? We have a judicial system in place to deal with people who break the law, social housing is not a privilege that can be given and taken away; it is a right.

Furthermore, once a family has been evicted, where do they then turn for shelter? Having worked with people who have had to prove their homelessness status, I can attest that even victims of violence have a difficult enough time accessing social housing. How would people in receipt of state benefit find enough money to rent privately?

Private landlords will also want references from previous tenancies. Nobody will want to provide housing to those evicted on grounds of anti-social behaviour relating to the riots. It is unethical to evict entire families based on the actions of one person; collective punishment does not take into account the human rights of family members and whilst some may argue that there are procedures in place to ensure the evictions won’t be breaking one convention or another, in light of the disproportionate sentencing of rioters, there is not a lot of confidence in these regulations being adhered to.

In the foreseeable future, if these evictions are not contested, we will have people sleeping rough on the streets. This is not a problem that will happen to somebody else, in somebody else’s town or somebody else’s street, the looters and rioters are from all over the UK, from all of our neighbourhoods.

Homelessness has its associated problems: drugs, alcohol, violence, theft. Who will we blame when the homeless are having to steal in order to eat?

We need more discussion on recovering costs, financial and emotional, from perpetrators through our justice system. Currently, state benefit claimants paying back a budgeting or crisis loan do so at about £7 p/w. This is entirely manageable and practical and will not leave the claimant completely destitute. Along with this idea, we need to explore community service and probation. With cuts to the public sector, the easy answer here would be to evict people that our government really does not care for, however, in the long term, we as a society will be the ones left to pick up the pieces.

With so many changes taking place, it is easy to get distracted by a worthier cause. We may lose our treasured NHS and with yet another social group affected by the policies of this government, it is difficult to keep on protecting individual rights. We must not let them think that we have forgotten about those people the government forgot about a long time ago.

Post-riot evictions – not in my name.

Please sign this petition if you want to help stop the knee-jerk eviction of families as a result of the riots.

Sam Ambreen

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