A Crime To Be Homeless?
Why are the Home Office refusing to let anyone see the responses to the consultation process on squatting legislation?
Squall 5, Oct/Nov 1993, pg. 12.
On July 26th SQUASH held a large open meeting at Conway Hall WC1. The meeting was designed to expand the personnel involved with the campaign and as such was a great success. Over 80 people crammed into the small hall and heard existing SQUASH members describe the work that had been done so far. In attendance, and together for the first time, were squatting groups from around the country, lawyers who helped with the campaign and a number of new people and previously lost contacts interested in pooling resources and efforts.
Established from the meeting were 6 subgroups:
Lobbying - continuing and expanding the work of meeting politicians and informing them of the homeless truths behind the criminal slurs.
Media - organising interviews and informing the media.
Networking - linking up squatters’ groups and other grass roots organisations for a more coordinated approach.
Actions - organising demonstrations, leafleting and publicity.
Fund-raising - organising benefit gigs and other ingenious ways of raising some lolly for the campaign.
Liaisons - making contacts with housing charities, law centres and church groups in order to inform them of the cause.
Another Meeting at Conway Hall was held on October 11th seeking to coordinate the above groups and present a plan of action for the autumn. The more people involved with these groups the better, so if you think you can help out with any of these then contact SQUASH: 071 226 8938
SQUASH published a press release on June 18th which collated some vital quotes and statistics. Members of the group were consequently interviewed by a number of regional radio stations and some TV. The national press did not respond to the offer of the inside story however, evidently preferring to make up their own.
SQUASH attended a meeting titled ‘Squatting: A Need for Legislation?’ at the Houses of Parliament on July 7th. The meeting was conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Homelessness and the speakers were Martin Westgate (Barrister) and Jon Fitzmaurice (Director of CHAR). Both the contents of their speeches and of the briefing paper that accompanied the meeting were in favour of leaving the law as it was believing it to be adequate as it stands.
Members of SQUASH were given a chance to say a few words but time did not permit a more satisfactory coverage of the implications of the Government’s proposals. Some SQUASH members were dissatisfied that questions such as “Squatters steal electricity don’t they?” from Lord (Len) Murray, were not satisfactorily answered by the panel. However, all in all, it was agreed that the general drift of the meeting was anti-legislation.
SQUASH (Squatters’ Action for Secure Homes)
c/o 2, St Paul’s Road, London N1 2QN
Tel: 071 226 8938 (24hr answer machine)