This section of the blog aims to document the personal experiences of those who have fought against evictions. If you want to share your story, email it to us at info[at]evictionresistance [dot] org [dot] uk.
I am professionally a qualified teacher in the UK and have worked in many schools. I was chosen for being housed under the Key worker scheme in 2008 designed for teachers, doctors etc. We were at that time living in a brand new accommodation provided by Genesis Housing Association. Life was wonderful, with a great job, great pay and wonderful family by my side. But who knows about the future!
When the Home office refused our application for settlement in the UK, we were then prohibited from work and everything ended. We were on rent arrears with no income at all. I fight indeed and my fight lasted for over 2 years to keep my family safe and to give them a shelter. I sought assistance from Newham council, but was denied. They all asked for my status in the UK. I was shattered and felt disappointed as I have contributed a lot and worked for years. Just a piece of paper was needed to get help. But I did not have that “so called” paper, or “so called” status. I was simply a mother trying to keep her family and disabled husband safe.
I fought in courts to resist the various evictions. I represented myself in court, prepared my grounds, arguments and defence as I couldn’t afford solicitors. I used my professional skills and knowledge to study the law and carried out several researches. I was praised by various judges for my eloquence and courage, nevertheless, this was not enough. Genesis Housing Association was legally represented by “good” barristers and lawyers. When I raised the issue about social cleansing in 2012 in open court, I was issued a civil restraint order against me [in my absence], which prevents me to file cases or any applications to the court otherwise I may be imprisoned. I was left all alone, with no assistance from anywhere. I was threatened by police officers who attended my house to advise me to drop housing cases.
I delivered my baby in July 2012 and 3 weeks later, we were evicted by bailiffs and police. Bailiffs harmed my husband and handcuffed him just for the simple reason because he wanted to go to the court to submit a document which the judge asked for. I was left with my 3 kids, took some belongings and left the place. The police promised to call children services but they soon disappeared. We were on the streets. We couldn’t go to the council neither to anywhere.
That evening, we went personally to the local children services department and we were provided with emergency accommodation out of our borough and later relocated . This time the council wanted to help. But, other government department including the courts prevented such help to be provided. We were evicted from our temporary accommodation provided by the council in December 2014 by High court bailiffs, The Sheriffs Office at 6am in the morning.
At that time, we were involved with FocusE15 campaign but those bailiffs prevented us to contact them. We were thrown out without any belonging. Focus E15 and E-resistance assisted us on various occasions to resist evictions by the county court bailiffs. But, the Sheriffs office used a different scheme. They came with the police who assisted them to break the door and pulled kids out with their pyjamas on during that cold winter. As a mother, this was a difficult moment for me.
I nowadays tried to assist people who are in more or less the same situation which I went through. I have learnt the housing law and human rights law which are very helpful to help many people around me. I also use my knowledge to prevent evictions and to secure accommodation to those who are in danger of eviction or in danger of being sent out of London. I can challenge any unlawful decisions made by any authorities and I am very pleased to assist those who are in need. If anybody needs any assistance, I am always there.
I end this by thanking those individuals who supported me throughout the court process. I also thank members of Focus E15, E-Resistance and others from RHN.
The fight goes on.