Thursday, 8 December 2011

Camden's 2.700 empty properties. Happy Christmas?

Front page of the Ham & High today: "2,700 homes empty as waiting lists hit 18,000".

Very topical as Channel 4 carries on its series on the country's 350,000 empty properties around the country.

Why am I saying Happy Christmas?

It's two years ago I got a possession letter telling me and my son to vacate my premises four days before Christmas Day."It's not your home, it's somewhere you rent," said the Libdem Lady

It's seven years ago that the Church wanted me and my toddler out the week before Christmas (I know!) until a local Labour councillor intervened so the wait for the court order got extended.

Oh blimey, back then, empty properties on my street. Oh how I longed for one of them. I discovered they belonged to a housing association. I called them up. "You need a job," they said. "I have a job, I'm a mother!" "Not that kind of job," they replied.

This Christmas I am safe. Well, as safe as you can be in temporary accommodation. Other people aren't. Crikey, it's never been just me.

These empty properties though. Apparently there are 752 out of that lot that are council owned.

There's a rumour that if you find one of them, you can have it. So last year (did I blog it? Must have..) I was told of an empty property in the estate across the road from Papier Mache Towers. So long abandoned letters couldn't fit through the letter box anymore.

I called the council, they investigated and the flat was actually leaseheld. Bought under the Right to Buy scheme and abandoned. Or bought under the Right to Buy scheme, sold, bought by another and abandoned.

That's the thing...over 2000 properties are privately owned and privately abandoned.

I don't know the numbers of families in temporary accommodation in Camden but I know I'm one of them. I don't know the number of families under the "Private Rental Scheme", I don't know the numbers of overcrowded families, living in council properties or otherwise desperate to move. I don't know the numbers of street homeless, sofa surfers, adults living with mum and dad because they're outpriced for a squalid bedsit. I don't know a damn thing.

I know what I want though. I want those homes to be returned to the council and managed by the council.

How it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, a positive thing without end


Happy Christmas.

No comments: