Sunday, 14 April 2013

Homelessness, young people and squatting in Maidstone

This afternoon I met with the group that were evicted two days ago from the disused library having moved in after it has been left unused for the past 12 months. They are a great bunch of people who need somewhere to live and want to live communally, growing food and sharing it. They decided to make use of a building that Kent County Council no longer wants for a library but seems to have done nothing else with.

They were in need of a home, sofa surfing and the like, so they decided to set up a squat / commune. They didn't break in, the building was not secured. They were not damaging the place - why would they, they wanted to live there - they were looking after it. But KCC had different ideas, clearly the thought of young people doing something useful was too much for them and they sent in the bailiffs to turf them out.

To add to this the abuse suffered at the hands of the bailiffs was unacceptable. This is what Lorna Crease wrote about the eviction on Friday:

"so perhaps not many people respect the occupation of the old Maidstone library, under Section 6... but I'll be honest, fuck you. I watched today as people lost their home after bailiffs BROKE IN and told them to leave, in the rain at 7 in the morning, because they want to knock the building down. I watched as their possessions and very existence were disregarded as even remotely human or worth anything, and I heard myself as they were referred to as "junkie crackheads". I heard raised voices and saw sadness and anger, and I realised in that moment that we are trapped in a system which cares for nothing but money, demonises the homeless and anyone who doesn't fit the middle/upper-class ideal, and that if we're going to help ourselves and make changes, we have to do it OURSELVES. the power is still somewhat in our hands, and we need to learn to stand up and use it, before we're manipulated into an existence where we have no rights left whatsoever" 

So we have a group of young people, keen to have a roof over their head and to look after themselves and a property. There is a property that was well used and liked as a library until KCC decided that libraries are best placed out of town where older people and people with pushchairs can't get to and promptly closed it. A property that has been empty for a year now and has no sign of becoming anything else. It is clear that these people should be allowed to look after the building.

Maidstone Borough Council have no time for young people needing affordable homes, they are about to cut the 40% requirement for affordable homes in new developments down to just 15% which is disgraceful.

In London, there is a company that uses squatters to mind buildings until they are sold and then provides the squatters with the next building to mind. Job creation, home creation and a simple solution - great stuff but too much for Kent.

There is a growing problem of homelessness in Maidstone. Anyone who visits the town centre regularly will have seen a significant rise in people sleeping in doorways - and these will be the tip of a sofa surfing iceburg. Maidstone Borough Council needs to take urgent action to ensure that there are affordable homes available in the town, not cutting the number of them.

4 comments:

deanoloco1 said...

Why is it that it is expected by these homeless people to be able to live for free and have handouts "because its there right" Why is it that i have to pay over £900 a month to rent my house and go to work to afford it and take no handouts, but for these people it is ok to do nothing for themselves other than make our town look a mess ! they dont look after anything all i ever see them do in town is drink booze leaving their empty cans everywhere, stealing from our shops and having arguments with eachother swearing and shouting while families are walking past with young children.
What about the rights of the council ?? that is their building and why cant they do as they please with it. I wonder if you would be happy if you went away and left your house empty and a group of homeless people moved in without your permission and refused to leave leaving you no choice but to get bailiffs to turf them out!!
GET A JOB GET A ROOM AND PAY FOR IT, AND STOP MAKING MAIDSTONE LOOK LIKE CARDBOARD CITY!!!!!

ChamberMasterBB said...

I love everything you said there. You THINK you have to pay your rent and that you must work and pay bills and jump through all the hoops your masters set for you. The world is controlled by a handful of people. And they want nothing more than us to be bickering arguing fighting to maintain the PITIFUL existences we ALL work hard to maintain. Blame the squatters and homeless for the fact you feel hard done by but at the end of the day its Slaves vs slaves here . Everything you do you chose to do if you think you MUSTwork and pay rent when others clearly dont your straight up delusional and clinging to the illusion you have been fed and its tough to know what to say thatwill help you . All i can advise is you look into permaculture, the ammount of empty houses, how every public authority is a private company and can be found on dunnandbraddstreet.com look into zero-point energy and nikola tesla and think whether or not the world has to be such an ugly horrible place we dont have to settle for this shit i think its a common mistake to assume if there was a better way to live as a species, we would. Our monetary system has become outdated with technology our public services have been taken over by investors hellbent on profit and expansion, mankind has been turned into sheer commodity like cattle and it dont have to be any specific way other than what you choose to accept, allow and promote. Namaste

rox collins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rox collins said...

Thank you Stuart Jeffery for meeting us

this is a reply to the thoughtless message by deanloco1 and to anyone else who doesn't know anything about the corrupt system, this situation or what our intentions were (we were the age of 15-19 year old and most of us were female and you CLEARLY have no idea what homelessness is like)

AND IT IS OUR RIGHT ... ITS EVERYONE'S RIGHT TO BE SAFE AND TO HAVE A HOME AND FOOD AND I TELL YOU ONE THING .... IF THE GOVERNMENT WONT HOUSE 25 YOUNG TEENAGERS THEN WE DAMN WELL WILL BECAUSE ITS ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL

JUST TO CLARIFY THIS!! SECTION 6 IS A LEGAL LAW AND IT CAN ONLY BE USED ON COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES THAT ARE NOT IN USE AS A BUISNESS OR HOME AT THE TIME OF ENTERY SO CLEARLY NOT SOMEONES HOME

no one had to pay anything as the electricity meter said £00:00

meaning even when it was a library KCC wasn't paying for it before us and you dont have to pay your rent u just pay it because everyone seems to believe and follow this corrupt system and everything they tell you.

All the legislation laws NO ONE legaly has to abide by them, they are put in place without consent of the people who are mostly affected by these decisions and who gave them the power in the first place to even think of making it a law, the people who vote are the people who suffer from these decisions and only the government gain from ANYTHING ANYONE DOES.

me and my partner and a friend were the two who entered the empty library as i have been homeless for most of my life until i discovered section 6, my partner wanted me safe as i am a young female and i look allot younger than i am which is more dangerous and i can tell you right now! that if you were homeless from the age of 15 + and had no one to look after you, no one to run to, and no one to protect you from the streets we slept on and in the weather conditions and not know any different you WOULDN'T COPE its horrible not having somewhere safe to sleep or even go ....... so as its LEGAL we followed the law and tried to change peoples prospective of life and for them to understand that LIFE IS NOT A GAME ITS REAL PEOPLE DIE, PEOPLE GET HURT AND PEOPLE SUFFER NOT EVERY ONE HAS LUXURIES LIKE YOU.

we started growing fruit and vegetables in the unused library we were turning into not only our home but a place for ALL of the community and for struggling family's to get FREE FOOD and to talk to understanding people ....

we were trying to provide FREE SHELTER not only MY friends group of 20-25 homeless teenagers but also house ANYONE who needs a home or somewhere safe to go...

FOOD AND SHELTER IS A HUMAN NECESSITY !!! YOU NEED IT TO SURVIVE .... SO WHY DO ALOT OF PEOPLE MAKE IT SO MUCH HARDER TO SURVIVE.....

THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CAUGHT IN THE CORRUPT SYSTEM THAT ONLY AIMS FOR SELF GAIN NEED TO LOOK AT OTHER OPTIONS AND AT OTHERS VIEWS NOT JUST YOUR OWN ...

PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING IN THIS WORLLD I JUST WANT YOU TO OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE ALL THE SUFFERING THATS HAPPENING ARROUND YOU ..