By Charlotte Latimer
Twenty-five Brixtonites braved the rain on Saturday night and camped out in Windrush Square to protest against the controversial bedroom tax which critics have warned could end up making some people homeless.
While most people said they would not stay for the whole night, a few were planning to sleep out in the tents and gazebos that had been put up.
Jan Hauge, who lives on Loughborough estate, is worried about the impact it will have on the community and said: “It’s devastating losing your home…If you’ve lived in a two bedroom house all your life what are you supposed to do?”
She is upset about the way the council are handling the bedroom tax and wants them to do more to help people who are being affected. She said: “They’re not even being careful about it.”
Brixton joined more than 50 other towns and cities in a national awareness raising campaign “The Mass Sleep Out”.
Elkin Atwell, who also lives in Loughborough Estate, said: “This protest is part of a larger nation wide protest and it’s good for people to have knowledge about what’s happening around them.”
“I know people on benefits are being severely penalised. I think they are unlucky because they can’t move to smaller accommodation because there’s none available.”
They both said that asking people to rent out their spare rooms to strangers is unfair because having lodgers is not always easy and can cause a problems for people.
Prilly Lewis from Carlton Mansions Housing Co-operative, currently under threat of eviction, joined fellow residents to show their solidarity. Speaking about recent government changes she said: “It seems everybody is being affected no matter what sector they are in.”
The Brixton Blog has previously estimated that 714 Brixton households will be affected by this tax with an average weekly income loss of £20.
The protest was organised by a number of different groups in Brixton who are facing housing problems and have come together under Unite the Union’s community membership scheme.