Last week, we published the account by SHANTAL MOSES (left) of her lockdown year spent with her young son in inadequate and dangerous accommodation provided by Croydon Council.
This is Croydon’s real housing crisis, another aspect of the appalling conditions endured by council tenants in tower blocks in South Norwood.
Gilroy Court is the London Road B&B which was “an indictment of modern Britain” and declared to be not fit for purpose by Labour councillor Alison Butler when she was in opposition and a Newsnight TV report exposed the conditions endured by residents there.
Nearly a decade later, and nothing has changed, as even throughout Butler’s six years as cabinet member for housing, the council continued to use Gilroy Court for emergency, supposedly “temporary” accommodation for often frightened and disconnected young mothers such as Shantal.
Now, for the first time, Inside Croydon’s loyal followers can hear Shantal tell her own story in our latest podcast, interviewed by reporter Ella Hopkins.
Read more: Croydon shamed over ‘dangerous squalor’ in council flats
Read more: ‘Is it because the council don’t care? Where is their humanity?’
Read more: ‘My family’s hell on earth’: 18 months in a Croydon B&B
Read more: Council’s flats scandal caused by ‘complete corporate failure’
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Shocking to hear children are housed by the council in accommodation where police raids are happening for drug and firearm offences. The council must be aware of this so why don’t they do something about it. People receiving council services need to be listened to if standards are to improve, it’s not just down to money, it’s the culture that needs to change.
Council services officers will undoubtedly be aware of the issues you cite, and may not wish to place someone needing emergency accommodation in such properties. But to do otherwise the officers need to have access to other accommodation.
Croydon has identified the need for social housing, and yet barely any has been built and nowhere enough to meet demand. Partly this is due to the chaos of the Brick x Brick fiasco.
However, there has been consistent opposition to development proposals across the borough and in the Local Plan consultation the former Conservative administration formulated an approach that limited medium to high density development into the town centre and its periphery. For the rest of the borough it is low density with the exception of Purley town centre.
Attend any planning / regeneration consultation session, and you will hear a litany of opposition to change regardless of the desperate need for social housing for the poorest and most vulnerable in a our community. In my opinion this is prime evidence that our “community” isn’t really a community but just an assembly of narrow self-interest.