People’s Agenda profile 14: Leeds Hands Off Our Homes

Winning Bedroom Tax appeals, organising large demonstrations and building support networks is the work of Leeds Hands Off Our Homes, they explain in this fourteenth profile in our People's Agenda series

April 18, 2015 · 3 min read

LeedsHOOH

peoples agenda ‘Our strategy was to organise the most affected neighbourhoods, supporting people there to self-organise, collectively refusing to pay. We created a small network of affected tenants and supporters, had large demonstrations and have been supporting tenants legally, in court and through signposting. ‘

HOOH originally campaigned against private finance initiative (PFI) housing in Leeds. In late 2012 we re-formed to oppose the ‘bedroom tax’, which affected over 6000 Leeds households. Our initial demands were for no bedroom tax charges, no evictions and more council housing.

Our strategy was to organise the most affected neighbourhoods, supporting people there to self-organise, collectively refusing to pay. We created a small network of affected tenants and supporters, had large demonstrations and have been supporting tenants legally, in court and through signposting.

Our pressure has made a difference in preventing evictions, winning some bedroom tax appeals and enabling more tenants to access temporary help with rent. The growing levels of poverty and insecurity for claimants needs a broader campaign; we are working to build a coalition of groups under the name Leeds Welfare Fightback to campaign and give support around cuts, sanctions, workfare and employment misery. Our demands:

– Repeal Welfare Reform Act 2012; Reverse local authorities’ welfare cuts; Build enough appropriate social/council housing to meet demand, at genuinely affordable rents; establish effective rent controls in the private sector

– End discrimination against young people and non-UK nationals in the benefits system

– End all sanctions, work capability assessments and forced labour; significantly increase the level of in-work and out-of-work benefits so that refusing unsuitable work is a genuine option.

– Less work for more pay, so that everyone can have flourishing lives.

To find out more visit: Leeds Hands Off Our Homes facebook page

Red Pepper are running the People’s Agenda series in the run up to the General Election, demonstrating the breadth of exciting grassroots political activity in the UK.

Join Red Pepper for our free event on 22 April in London- Beyond the Ballot Box: Ways we can Win.


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