by Bev Haigh-Jones

In the last issue we reported on the protest meeting that took place in Truro on 21 August and told the story of one of the speakers, a sole parent living in Penryn with his son. He had lived in Cornwall for fifteen years and raised his children here. He had been happy and settled in a rental property during that time, but after being served with an eviction notice because his landlord wished to sell the property, at the time of the protest he had just three weeks left before the bailiffs were due and he would become homeless.

Despite his best efforts over the period of notice, he had been unable to find alternative accommodation. A situation all too familiar to too many people in Cornwall. At the time of a second protest organised by Acorn, which took place in Falmouth on 25th September, there were 10,290 Airbnb properties available in the county, but only 69 permanent homes for rent. What hope can anyone have faced with those statistics! The competition between all those needing a property just adds to the extreme stress that these people are subject to on a daily basis.

Fortunately for this particular person, he was offered help on the day of the first protest by an organisation called Acorn and I am really pleased to be able to report that they managed to halt the eviction. It was only a temporary postponement, but that was all that was needed. The tenant just needed enough breathing space to find somewhere else to live, and thankfully, he has now succeeded. He and his son will not now be thrown onto the streets, which had been a real danger since the eviction had been upheld by the courts.

Without Acorn, however, who organised a physical barrier of supporters between the bailiffs and the property concerned, the outcome could have been very different. That human barrier had to stand strong. They experienced quite a level of intimidation, and even some physical abuse despite the fact that police officers were in attendance, but they were in no mood to allow a man and his son to be made homeless unnecessarily and in those circumstances. Well done to all involved! Read more

It’s heartening to see that the momentum is increasing within groups such as Acorn, Kernow Matters, First Homes not Second, etc., to fight the injustice of the housing situation in our county and that they are working together in many instances, thereby maximising their impact. There is an event being held by First Homes not Second on 9th October in Mousehole, which will have already taken place by the time that this newsletter is distributed, but I am sure that there will be a great many more in the future.

There are links and email addresses below to various sites for those who need assistance, wish to gather more information, or to become involved in the campaign.

Acorn

http://acorntheunion.org/
Falmouth@acorntheunion.org.uk

First not Second Homes

https://www.facebook.com/groups/390154452493818
firstnotsecondhomes@gmail.com

Kernow Matters To Us

https://kernowmatterstous.weebly.com/
kernowmatterstoyou@gmail.com