A group of parents from the Cardinal Hume Centre put the spotlight on the lack of adequate housing, the difficulties they face in bidding for better homes and the long wait they face for permanent homes in Westminster at a public meeting on Tuesday (March 20).
Local MP Karen Buck, Westminster council housing officials and housing providers were all at the meeting in Abbey Centre in Westminster to hear from the members of the ‘No Place Like Home’ campaign group which was set up in partnership with Save the Children.
Campaigner, Julie Mary Henry, told the meeting that she’d had to move four times in the last 10 years. The mother of four stressed how it was never clear whether the home she moved to would be permanent or not and with a young family it is very difficult to move over and over again. Another mother, Sarah Kybert, who has been on the waiting list for a bigger home for 3 years, revealed that her three children aged 13, 6 and 3 have to share a bedroom which makes life very difficult and stressful as they all have different needs. Others told how they’d lived with appalling damp for over 2 years.
Deborah Brown, from Westminster council’s Housing Options team, said: “Their concerns are very valid – if you are living in temporary accommodation or very overcrowded it has a massive effect on your life. The problem is that I am limited in the advice I can give because there is a mismatch between supply and demand. “There is not enough affordable housing in Westminster, London or the South East. The problems we face here in Westminster are repeated across London but there is a lack of understanding of the wider issues and I am not sure I can come up with a solution.”
Following the meeting Sarah said: “Taking part in this campaign has taught me that you have to ask questions but you need to know the right questions to ask. I think the meeting has moved things forward and made everyone very aware of the problems we face.”
If you live in Westminster and are need some help or support please get in touch on 020 7227 1673 or ask us a question. Watch the film the group made about the housing situation in Westminster.