Tag Archives: squatting

Five Years since Residential Squatting Criminalised

It has been five years now since section 144 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (s144 LASPOA 2012) became enforceable, which criminalises residential squatting in England and Wales. The new law continues to impact the vulnerably housed, making squatting more difficult and harder to remain in a property for long.

Four Years since Residential Squatting Criminalised

Four years ago today, squatting in empty residential properties became a criminal offence in England and Wales, with the introduction of section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012). Since then many young and homeless people have felt the effects of the new law, and squatting itself has become an ever more precarious housing option…. SQUASH Newsletter for 1st September 2016.

Lessons on Working Together from Tobocman’s “War in the Neighborhood”

Ad Astra Comix have written an exclusive blog for SQUASH, as they gear up to re-release Seth Tobocman’s classic ‘War in the Neighborhood’, a graphic novel about anti-gentrification resistance in New York’s Lower East Side, in the late 80s/early 90s. The article highlights one the comic’s key themes, the challenge of living together under the intense pressure of radical occupation, relevant today as ever.

Squatting Stats 2015 version 2 released

Original report, “Squatting Statistics 2015″ has been updated as Version 2.0 with additional information on: 1] Prosecutions & Convictions for section 144 & “Begging”: Analysis of Ministry of Justice Criminal Justice statistics, released 19 May 2016 2] Crime Related Incidents (CRI): Greater Manchester Police submitted information about “squatting” CRIs in 2015, providing useful background on Alternative Offences, and evidence of vulnerable adults & children squatting.

Squatting & Criminalisation in the Netherlands

On the 11th June 2016, ETC Dee gave a presentation at the DeCentre space in Whitechapel, entitled “Squatting in the Netherlands”. The talk looked at well-known squats & social centres, the 2010 law criminalising squatting and its impact, and finally a history of squatting in the Netherlands. Both the Netherlands and England&Wales have a long squatting history, and both recently had squatting criminalised by their respective right-wing governments. However, there are key differences too: all squatting was criminalised in Holland, and only residential in England&Wales; Holland criminalised squatting two years before England&Wales, and the Dutch government appears more inclined to imprison squatters.

PRESS RELEASE – Squatting Stats 2015: rising homelessness linked to criminalisation of squatting

The latest report, “Squatting Statistics 2015: The link between rising homelessness and the criminalisation of squatting” (May 2016), from Squatters Action for Secure Homes (SQUASH), in partnership with Streets Kitchen, found that 148 people were arrested under section 144 in 2015, bringing the total number of people arrested for the offence to at least 736 since 2012. The criminalisation of squatting in residential properties in England and Wales, through section 144 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2011), is leading to the arrest of young homeless people in the hundreds, rising street homelessness and is pushing up residential property prices.

“Options for dealing with squatting” by Persons Unknown

Dog Section Press has put together a sample of responses from the 2011 Ministry of Justice consultation on squatting into a nifty little booklet entitled “Options for dealing with squatting” by Persons Unknown. The booklet has a good selection of quotes (both pro- and anti-squat), a well-written introduction, and is the only diverse sample of the 2,000+ responses to the consultation.

Film: Living History at Crossroads Women’s Centre

What the “Living History at Crossroads Women’s Centre” (2015) documentary makes clear the importance of squatting, the act of taking wasted space to meet social needs. Without this simple act, Crossroads Women’s Centre would never have been able to help the many thousands of women they have assisted over the years.

SQUASH NewsRound – September to December 2015

Stories in SQUASH NewsRound: September – December 2015:

New Squat Resources
Squats:
    Giggs-Neville Hotel in Manchester
    Kid’s Company Peckham
    Camden Mothership, West Hamsptead
    Scumoween Rave, Lambeth Bridge
Squatting-related Articles
Squatting Discussions in Parliament

Happy Birthday Grow Heathrow – 28th Feb 2015

Grow Heathrow will be celebrating their 5th year as a squat and community project; the party starts Friday 27th February and ends Sunday 1st March, with the main celebration on Saturday. The weekend seems jam packed with pizza, workshops, music, theatre, panel discussions and much more; come for the day, or bring a tent & sleeping bag and crash there.

Call-out for Volunteers – SQUASH

With the increased activity around squatting over the past few months, Squatters Action for Secure Homes (SQUASH) is calling for volunteers to help with a campaign push running up to the General Elections in May and beyond. There are a number of areas to help with, and all help will be greatly appreciated. Read more….

Urgent – Help Save the 12 Bar, Soho

The squatted 12 Bar in Soho is now the frontline against the complete redevelopment of the West End and Soho. Having executed a brilliant open-mic last Friday (with acts like the Bohemianauts, and Smiley and the Underlass), they are now up in court on Wednesday, facing an Interim Possession Order (IPO) on the building. At an open community meeting on Monday night, ex-employees of the 12 Bar, local workers, students, activists, bohemians and supporters came together to discuss how we could save this culturally significant venue from being demolished. Resist, Occupy, Win!

Squatters Bloc at March for Homes – Sat 31st January

Defend Council Housing and South London People’s Assembly called the “March for Homes” last year, setting a date for Saturday, 31st January 2015. While there was a slow take-up at first, more groups are now getting involved. The Radical Housing Network endorsed the march a few weeks ago, and squatters are organising a squat bloc for the big day. Spread it, network it, get down there.

SQUASH EXCLUSIVE: “Squatting the frontline” by John McDonnell MP

Article by John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, on squatting and Britain’s housing crisis, reproduced from an article in the latest STRIKE! Magazine (Autumn 2013). McDonnell, a staunch supporter of squatting, rips apart the current housing system, the criminalisation of squatting through s144 LASPO and even his fellow Labour MPs who called for the extension of the law to commercial premises. Read more here….

Park Street Occupation, Southwark

Housing activists have occupied a property 21 & 23 Park Street, just off Borough market which was owned by Southwark council. The building which has been derelict for ages, basically falling apart with just scaffolding to keep it up, was auctioned with a starting price of £2.3 million and sold for £2.9 million, making it the most expensive council house sold. The occupation is also a challenge to section 114 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) introduced last September which criminalised squatting in residential properties. Blog includes links to Our Media and Mainstream Media (MSM) articles on the occupation.

Open Letter to Mike Weatherley MP and The Argus

Your attitude to private property is that of the land owners that belong in the “Medieval wasteland” you invoke, along with your Cabinet’s front bench…

Waste of Space at the 491

Many empty and wasted buildings have been turned into vibrant, open and useful spaces over the years – but the clamour for criminalisation of squatting in commercial properties has already begun.

Waste of Space may be one of the last opportunities for the public to experience arts at 491 – one last chance to visit this vibrant place

Squatting in residential properties to be criminalised within months

What a joke! All of it, the whole process. Last night the House of Lords passed a clause hidden in the legal aid bill to criminalise squatting in residential properties essentially making thousands of homeless people criminals overnight. A whole section of the very poorest and most vulnerable in society have been made criminals and again the debate took place extremely late in the day. The harsh reality is that the government keeps enough peers at Parliament late at night if they face any risk of defeat while the rest of the Lords (Labour, Crossbenchers, Bishops & others) rarely stay […]

All still to play for

The Government have voted through an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, to make squatting in residential buildings a criminal offence, with up to 51 weeks imprisonment. The clause has now moved to the House of Lords where it will face its first proper scrutiny. A second reading took place on the 21st November where a general debate on all aspects of the bill occurred. The bill is still to go to committee stage where a full line by line examination should happen and this stage is yet to be scheduled. You can keep track […]

Shift: the spatial politics of squatting in the UK…

This document addresses the following questions: Firstly, why bother at all? Why is it important that squatting isn’t criminalized? And secondly, why bother meeting the government on its own terms? Is engagement not contradictory when we’re aiming to build real alternatives to the current system?

NUS Student Activism 2011 Conference: why is squatting relevant to students?

On Saturday Squash will be representing at the NUS Student Activism 2011 conference, at Goldsmiths. Come down and say hello. We’ll be giving a talk at 2pm entitled ‘Trespass! Why criminalizing squatting could affect students…?’ Here’s why we think students should be concerned about the government’s plan’s to criminalise trespass…

Your gauntlet, Mr. Weatherley?

“What really gets my goat is when Weatherley says “show me a squat which has been made better by the squatters” on his website or, most recently, on the BBC Politics Show. Mike said he was laying down the gauntlet to squatter groups: here is one response…”

This pernicious choreography hints at a more sinister logic…

This pernicious choreography – from summer consultation to rushed last-minute amendment – also hints at a more sinister logic. On Tuesday morning, the housing minister, Grant Shapps, tweeted the following: “St Paul’s: Right to protest NOT a right to squat. Looking at law to see if change needed to deal w/ camps like St Paul’s & Dale Farm faster.” Shapps’ casual and lazy equation of protest and collective assembly with the rich and varied history of squatting reveals, it seems to me, the ultimate target of the government’s legal revanchism…

Labour to back government in support of homeowners despite concerns

Labour will support government moves to outlaw squatting despite concerns that changes to trespass laws could leave thousands of homeless people facing year-long prison sentences and fines of up to £5,000, the Guardian has learned. Sources working for the shadow justice minister said they did not think there was any possibility that the new law would affect sit-ins and occupation protests as previously feared, and they would support the change to show their support for homeowners. Under the government’s new proposals, rushed into the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill, it will become a crime to squat in any residential […]

Take a look in at Squatters Town…

Even the briefest reading of history is enough to dismiss the idea that squatting is either a modern phenomenon or a hangover from the 60s and 70s; squatting has always existed as a solution wherever there are people without any other option for decent housing. This newsreel from 1946 is a beautiful example of both how squatting can work and how far the debate has declined…