By guest writers at One Housing Residents Action
Coronavirus and lockdown has been a traumatic time for One Housing Group (OHG) residents, and has led to the formation of a new action group.
After years of silence since the Grenfell tragedy, OHG residents in Mile End, East London received a letter on the 16th of June. It stated they must remove BBQs and fairy lights from their balconies, due to cladding concerns.
This was the first time many residents learned their properties might have flammable materials.
Many shared ownership leaseholders immediately looked into whether they could sell. When they did, they found out that they were trapped. Their properties were unsellable and, therefore, worthless.
On top of this, many residents’ heating failed. Some were left without hot water for weeks during the lockdown. Suddenly, letters from One Housing about “Section 20” processes landed on the doorstep, saying residents could have to pay for the cladding works if One Housing cannot get government funding.
Residents and Tenants Move into Action
Then came the creation of One Housing Residents Action Group (OHG Action).
The group started as a couple of angry residents. But within a few weeks, hundreds of members – from various estates around the country – joined the mailing list. OHG Action also has 400 followers on Twitter.
Early on, OHG Action sent a survey to more than 20 OHG-managed estates, and received 162 responses within a fortnight. The group wrote to the CEO of One Housing, Richard Hill, to present the findings. The results showed that hot water, pest infestation, high service charges and cladding concerns were incredibly common across One Housing estates.
SHAC’s support in liaison with OHG employees organised by the Unite Housing Workers Branch has been a huge help to our volunteers. This has allowed our members to identify One Housing’s failings as both a landlord and employer, and uncover the extent of the problems.
OHG Action is now working alongside SHAC to present a structured, comprehensive campaign of action. SHAC’s goal is to improve standards for residents and employees across the board, and it supports OHG Action’s campaign against cladding costs being passed to leaseholders by wealthy housing associations.
The united front that has been formed and the planning that has followed mean we have taken a giant step towards improving living standards for One Housing residents.
If you are an OHG tenant or resident and would like to make contact with the OHG Residents Action Group, please email using the link below:
You can also follow them on Twitter: @OHGResidents
If you would like to contact the Unite Housing Workers Branch, please see the website or email the Branch Secretary, Jack Jeffery.
3 September 2020