Whose games, whose city?

With just days to go until ‘London 2012’, the spotlight is on the capital. But the event is also drawing attention to a local housing crisis of olympic proportions.

In an area where private tenants typically spend over 40 per cent of their income on rent, private tenants in and around the Olympic boroughs have been discovering just how few rights and little security they have when it comes to their homes. People have been forced to leave places they’ve lived in for years, temporarily vacate their homes with no alternative accomodation provided, or pay massively increased rents to be able to stay after their landlords decided to cash in on expected mega rents over the period of the Games.

Then there’s the issue of the housing ‘legacy’ supposedly being left for the people of East London. Supposedly the Olympic development is bringing 11,000 new homes with it, but this seems increasingly unlikely. And while a third of the new builds were meant to be ‘affordable‘ (desparately needed in an area where 32,000 people are on the waiting list for social housing), the new definition of this term means rents can still reach 80 per cent of market rates, with outcry at a recently completed ‘affordable’ scheme in nearby Islington demonstrating how such schemes benefit graduates and young professionals trying to get onto the housing ladder at the expense of those who most need help with accessing decent housing.

The developments are also spelling trouble through the process of gentrification or ‘regeneration’ which is seeing areas like the Carpenters Estate in Newham, home to around 250 people, threatened when the council revealed plans to demolish most of the estate, pushing the community out in favour of more exclusive developments.

Add these problems to anger about corporate profiteering by sponsors with dubious track records, repressive policing and an assault on civil liberties and it’s not surprising people are pissed off. Join Housing for the 99% to demonstrtate against the many negative aspects of the games at a protest organised by the Counter Olympics Network:

Whose games? Whose city?
Assemble 12 noon, Saturday 28 July 2012
Mile End Park, East London (nearest tube: Mile End)
March to Victoria Park for the People’s Games for All!
To include speeches, entertainment, “alternative games”, and children’s events.

If you’d like to join our housing bloc, meet on the edge of Mile End Park, opposite East London Tabernacle Baptist Church on Burdett Road, E3 4TU at 12 noon. Email housingforthe99@gmail.com for more information.

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