HASL, as a part of London Coalition Against Poverty, received a grant of £1500 in October 2018. We recently caught up with them to hear how this grant has helped their organising.
HASL has continued to grow in the past year, with Edge funding that has helped us to have the space and resources for two local meetings a month, with 50 – 100 members there each time.
HASL group meeting.
Our group works on a lot of different housing issues that people face in South London. Having meetings where members can come together regularly to share their problems update on progress is the main way that the whole group supports each other. We mostly organise in Southwark and Lambeth, but sometimes people travel from neighbouring boroughs.
Many of our members have been able to access secure social housing with the support of the group, with several major successes in the past year. These successes have all been the result of many months, sometimes years, of persistent casework with HASL. This depends on regular meetings.
Our group supports each other to understand the complexities of housing lists in different boroughs, to get complaints to local authorities to be acted upon, to stand up for ourselves in homelessness assessments, and to refer our cases to ombudsmen or the courts.
We run various campaigns on the immediate housing issues we face, as well as campaigning for more council housing, especially 3, 4 and 5 bed homes that are desperately needed. In the past year our protests have been:
These protests were picked up in the local press (here and here) and have pressured local authorities is providing a solution to members that had been ignored until then.
HASL protest demanding homeless families be rehomed close to where their children go to school.
When members have successes and experience about how to stand up for their rights, they help others joining the group or in the wider community. Recently we have started to reach out to other local groups by organising workshops about housing rights in a local primary school, with the English for Action group. We also ran a workshop on organising practical solidarity and collective support at the Anarchist Festival in North London.
Edge fund has helped us with the basic running costs which are increasing with our growing group. We really appreciate the supportive and solidarity based nature of the Edge Fund application process.