E15 Mums celebrate victory as court delays eviction date
HOMELESS mums occupying abandoned council flats in London left court as heroes yesterday after the council delayed its eviction threat.
The mums and dozens of supporters were made to wait for over two hours outside Bow County Court to hear if they would be forced out.
But they secured a landmark victory within minutes of the hearing by forcing the council to make concessions.
Campaign champions Jasmin Stone and Sam Middleton came out holding hands and grinning widely to deliver news to their supporters — including comedian Russell Brand.
Mr Brand told the Morning Star: “We are seeing social cleansing all over London, we are seeing further exacerbation of inequality all over the country, all over the world.
“It’s the rich versus everybody else and these women have been brave enough to confront it. I think the least we can do is show up and support them.”
Labour-run Newham council leaders agreed to allow the occupation go on until October 7, when the mums will walk out with their heads held high.
A statement for the Focus E15 mothers said they “will continue to fight displacement and evictions and to campaign for secure, council housing through direct action, mobilisation and legal means.”
The hearing had been postponed from last week after Newham Council unleashed its legal hounds onto the famous campaign.
A judge at Bow Country Court had found eleventh-hour proceedings to be unfair on the housing activists and trial was rescheduled for yesterday.
This gave the mums enough time to organise and a staggering number of supporters came to cheer them on as they took on Newham Mayor Robin Wales.
People overflowed from the narrow street in front of court and stayed until the deal was reached.
Mr Brand was joined by The Revolution Will Be Televised comedian Jolyon Rubinstein and left-wing journalist Owen Jones.
Speaking after the hearing, a council spokesperson said: “The council will be writing to the remaining residents of the Carpenters Estate to reassure them about the steps we are taking to make empty properties on the estate available as temporary homes for families who need them and to reassure them.”
Activists asked why this promise is coming only now, after years of leaving properties like 40 Doran Walk empty.
After leaving court Ms Stone delivered an passionate talk on social housing and Focus E15’s struggle to bust the housing-crisis myth.
The 50-plus strong group of demonstrators than started marching down Romford Road stopping at local authority offices for a few minutes and delivering rallying speeches.
The council offices, the council’s housing offices and the Focus E15 hostel — from where the mums were kicked out in October 2013 — were all taken over in five minute bursts of protest.
Ms Stone said: “This is the beginning of the end of the housing crisis.”