Following the news that after a long campaign by tenants against eviction after the sale of their homes by their previous landlord, and their homes having been bought by the housing association Dolphin Living Trust with a promise to keep them as social housing, forty-nine households on Butterfields and Shernhall Street are over the moon.
What a win! What a victory!
After waging a steadfast campaign-to-stay over 10 long months, the tenants’ strategy “Butterfields Won’t Budge” has finally paid off. Just like the women of New Era in Hackney and the mums of E15 Focus, now the tenants of Walthamstow continue to blaze a trail of defiance against a system that treats tenants and their families as if they count for nothing.
“There is nothing worse than living under the constant threat of losing the roof over your head”, said Linda Taaffe of Waltham forest Trades Council who have supported the campaign from the start. “The landlords thought they could easily scare off the tenants. The law was overwhelmingly on their side. But they miscalculated. The tenants turned the table on the landlords. However ruthless and relentless the landlords’ tactics, they were well matched by the bold activities of tenants and masses of supporters in trade unions, political parties and through national and social media. Now they can stay in their homes”.
Exactly how did they get there? Well, so many played a part. Local MP Stella Creasy played a very useful role. Amongst other things she challenged Glasspool vigorously, she raised the matter in parliament pressurising the Tory housing minister, and got talking to Dolphin Living Trust.
However, the unsung heroes are the campaigning tenants and their supporters who did the business daily.
Nicole spent every free minute as a champion for the tenants association. Anna and Margaret bravely confronted estate agents, Shahzeb led a delegation to the landlord’s posh mansion in Chigwell, Ade spent hours digging out information about the landlords’ companies, Sylvia wrote letters to housing associations including Dolphin, Kingsley participated in the intervention at an auction; Indra and Marc Anthony, Sukran and Dogan, Nina and Daniel, another Anna, and countless others played their part in many activities and by just coming out to regular street meetings – in the cold and in the sun- to decide together what to do next. They were the ones, along with a huge swathe of supporters, who really forced the landlords to the table – especially after John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor gave a helping hand taking to task RBS the bank who had backed the landlords.
Linda sums up the success: “Above all this victory is a tribute to the tenacity of working class people, united from various ethnic backgrounds, struggling together in common cause, in a fight simply for the basic human need to stay in their home. Hats off to all who helped!”
There is a victory celebration “Boogie for Butterfields” on Friday 25th November at 7.30pm in Orford House, Orford Road E17 9RA. All Welcome. Entrance is a £1 raffle ticket (Buy more if you want). Proceeds will go to organising a Christmas treat for the children and families of Butterfields.
For further information ring 07952283558