‘Shortlife’ and the Super Co-op: an important update
At a recent meeting between Lambeth officers, the council’s chair of housing and ‘shortlife’ housing co-op tenants under threat of eviction, the proposal for a ‘Super Co-op’ was pushed aside by a last minute agenda change.
In an example of some sleight of hand corporate manoeuvring, the agenda points discussed at the first Super Co-op meeting in November 2012 were jettisoned thanks to a communication sent by the council leader, Cllr Peck, on the Friday before this Monday’s meeting.
What should have been discussed was a solution to the upset and upheaval caused by the policy of ‘shortlife recall’ – a solution that allows housing co-op residents to stay in their homes of up to 40 years and that offers a borough-wide social value by taking on empty homes to refurbish them.
Instead there was an attempt by Lambeth to shoe-horn ‘shortlifers’ into the ‘model co-op’ that was mooted in the 2011 Housing Commission – a proposal that so far Lambeth has made no progress on – crucially this ploy means that our request to stay in our homes has been denied. Meanwhile, Lambeth say that cannot cannot legally leave us in situ – but they will not explain why, despite past precedents to the contrary.
Unfortunately, the hi-jacking of the agenda is a move that seems to typify the way that Lambeth has treated ‘shortlife’, e.g. pulling out of permanency deals and neglecting the houses and leaving it to us to maintain them.
The impasse that has been reached means that the council will continue to spend money on lawyers, vacant property managers, contractors and auctioneers in their efforts to purge housing co-op communities that have been in existence for nearly 40 years.
It also means that Lambeth will continue an action that its own co-op commissioners have criticised and has even come under fire from the people who come to buy our homes at auction viewings, many of whom choosing not to attend the subsequent auction.
Rather than back a proposal that could have kept people in-situ and taken other people off the housing waiting list, Lambeth’s punitive legal campaign will add people to that list who do not need to be there.
You can help put the Super Co-op back on the agenda by lobbying Cllr Peck and Cllr Robbins and supporting those councillors who have in turn supported the work of Lambeth United Housing Co-operative.
When you are told to your face by a councillor that your community has brought “a welcome permanence and continuity to the area” and yet that councillor refuses to defend that community, you start to wonder about the moral compass that is guiding the borough.
It’s in your hands to put this perception right and make Lambeth a truly “co-operative council” or let this episode remain a stain on this aim.
Lambeth United Housing Co-operative, 30th January, 2013