Disabled campaigners are relaunching the WOW Campaign in a bid to secure a debate in the House of Commons on the need for the government to assess the financial damage caused to disabled people through its cuts and reforms.Four years ago, nearly 105,000 people signed a petition launched by the WOW Campaign that called on the government to carry out a cumulative impact assessment (CIA) of the cuts.That petition led to a debate in February 2014, the first time disabled people had secured a debate in the main chamber of the House of Commons on an agenda they had chosen themselves.The WOW (War On Welfare) Campaign has been largely dormant for more than two years, but key figures now believe the time is right for a relaunch and a second WOW debate.Activists are working to secure cross-party backing for another debate that would call on ministers to defend their refusal to calculate the overall impact of their cuts on disabled people.This time, WOW is hoping to secure a debate through a request from supportive MPs to the backbench business committee, rather than through a petition to parliament.Initial support has already come, they say, from Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell – who led the WOW debate in 2014 – Green MP Caroline Lucas, and Kate Green, Labour’s former shadow minister for disabled people, as well as SNP and Liberal Democrat MPs.Green said she was “still at the stage of investigating possibilities”, including “discussing exactly what a debate would cover, for example would it be just on benefit cuts or wider, given the comprehensively damning assessment from the UN since the original petition”.But she said she was hoping to draw together “a number of colleagues to apply for a backbench business debate” and was now working with others to build cross-party support “as that would strengthen any application”.As part of their campaigning push, WOW campaigners are planning a new website that will highlight the stories of disabled people impacted by eight years of austerity cuts.Michelle Maher, one of the earliest members of the WOW Campaign, said: “The CIA is what we have been fighting for forever, because they don’t want the figure out there, they have never wanted the figure out there.“They should have done a CIA as a duty of care [to disabled people]. They don’t want people to know how much they have cut from disability support.”WOW campaigners point out that the list of respected organisations that have called for such an assessment continues to grow.It includes the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, the government’s own social security advice body, and peers on the House of Lords Equality Act 2010 and disability committee.And the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published a report in March which calculated its own cumulative impact assessment of all the tax, national insurance, social security and minimum wage reforms introduced between May 2010 and January 2018.EHRC’s report calculated that some disabled lone parents would eventually lose more than 30 per cent of their income – more than £11,000 a year – due to eight years of cuts.
Labour activists, groups such as Another Europe is Possible, TSSA leader Manuel Cortes and high-profile Corbynite commentators including Owen Jones and Ash Sarkar all criticised the call for abstention.Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott defended the measure in a tweet:Re Immigration Bill, LAB accepts Common Travel Area must be restored with Ireland & Free Movement ends if we Leave Single Market. But this Bill puts cart before the horse. We need settled relationship with EU first. LAB wants to amend Bill substantially. Today isn’t a final vote!— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) January 28, 2019The explanation that a second reading is not a final vote on the bill was widely compared today to Harriet Harman opting to abstain on Tory welfare legislation when acting as interim leader in 2015.Following a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting this evening, which saw MPs express anger over the whipping decision, the one-line whip to abstain has been replaced by a one-line whip to vote against the bill. Tags:Labour /Immigration Bill / Labour has U-turned on its decision to abstain on the second reading of the government’s Immigration Bill after the move sparked a backlash from disappointed MPs and party activists.The bill being voted on tonight ends free movement after Brexit, a pledge made in Labour’s 2017 manifesto, but also repeals other rights of EU citizens and hands over control of the future UK immigration system to the Home Secretary.Party whips informed Labour MPs earlier today that they would be ordered to abstain on the second reading “as we accept that a new immigration system is required post-Brexit, but do not support the government such wide powers to introduce a new system”.The message continued: “We will seek substantial amendments in committee stage to restrict the powers granted to the government by itself and require that the immigration system eventually introduced is based on evidence.”But MPs soon expressed their opposition to the move via Twitter, with many saying they would defy the party whip to vote against the bill.Chris Leslie tweeted: “Why have Labour frontbench just dropped a three line whip down to one line whip against tonight’s Immigration Bill 2nd reading? This Govt Bill ends free movement, fails to secure U.K./EU citizens rights & delegates future immigration rules to Ministers. Surely needs opposing?!”
After years of community meetings to get McCoppin Hub Plaza just right, plans have been set in motion to fence in the year-old space whenever it has no planned event.Though it will likely take six months or more to put up the fences – the designs have not yet been finalized – Supervisor Jane Kim said at a community meeting Tuesday night that her office had heard loud and clear from neighbors. While the city works to address its homelessness problem, she said, fencing the plaza makes sense to keep homeless people from loitering and littering there and vandals from causing damage. “It’s a new space and we’ve heard with much detail about some of the hiccups,” Kim said. “For the past two months, our office has been moving forward under the assumption that fencing [would be installed].”Prospective plans include an eight-foot fence and a variety of gate configurations, with either swinging gates and a roll-up barrier, for the two wide slanted driveways. The gates would be kept open during events like movie nights, farmers markets, or craft sales. An assigned neighborhood steward or an engineer from the city’s Real Estate Division would open and close the gates either at all other times, or at predetermined hours.Several neighbors had long wanted a fence, and were growing impatient with the fact that none had yet been erected. “I think it’s great that you’re trying to activate it, but just put up the fence,” said Stephen Henry, who lives on Elgin Park. “It’s one thing to have the space,” said another neighbor, “but I think it’s just a draw. It’s attracting people who bring blight to the neighborhood.”But opinions at the meeting were divided on the issue.“I walk past McCoppin Hub every day and I have never once felt unsafe” said Jessi Reid. “These are humans. Where are they supposed to go? This is a utility for the public. They are part of the public.”Her comment was met with a round of applause.Vanessa Gregson, a neighbor who also works for the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research association (SPUR), worried that fencing the plaza where homeless people gather would simply push their encampments out in front of the fence, onto the sidewalk. Additionally, “if you make a public space less accessible, people will be less interested in using it,” Gregson said.Henry, a neighbor who was eager for a fence, said he had been under the impression one had been included in the approved proposals for a plaza at McCoppin Hub. Lynn Valente, executive director of People In Plazas, an organization dedicated to hosting events in McCoppin Hub and other public spaces, had a different recollection of how things had worked out. She said the original plan for the plaza had been to build a community garden, which would have been fenced, but that more recent plans for a concrete plaza as an open space for events had dropped the fence idea.Valente said she hasn’t seen many neighbors out at the events on McCoppin Hub Plaza and overall they have not been as well attended as expected.One neighbor attributed low attendance to a lack of information. “We’ve been on Twitter, on NextDoor, on Facebook,” Valente said. “I think we’ve done our due diligence.”Still, after a quick poll from a city employee, only about a third of those living in the neighborhood knew about events at McCoppin Hub. Part of the vision for the plaza as a public space was to have food trucks from Off The Grid set up shop there like they used to on some weekends. The trucks were so highly anticipated that Robin Havens, from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, said the design of the park was amended to better accommodate them. But the food trucks aren’t showing up. Ken Rich, also from Haven’s office, said repeated requests for Off the Grid to send some trucks to McCoppin have been unsuccessful because the trucks can simply make more money at other locations. Carlos Muela, the owner of SoMa StrEat Food Park, said he had hesitated to send trucks to McCoppin under the impression that it was Off the Grid turf.“If you or someone else can get in there, you have our ears” Rich told Muela. “Call us tomorrow morning. Please, do that.”Unless new programming steps in, there’s a good chance McCoppin Hub will stand empty, and therefore fenced, most of the day. Events in public spaces tend to dwindle in the winter months, said Havens. But the future of the plaza isn’t set in stone. If a community group comes forward to take on management, the space could be turned into a community garden with the addition of some more raised planters and some volunteer caretakers, city staff said. To really make the plaza viable as a public space, it should be surrounded by more residences, and used by neighbors like any other park, said neighbor Robin Levitt. But that would require the removal of the neighboring Uhaul rental and freeway overpass, he said.“I’m ambivalent. I understand the desire for a fence, but it’s a shame that there would have to be a fence,” Levitt said. “For the short term, that’s the only thing that can be done right now.”Kim said the city and neighbors would discuss further at which hours to fence the park. Most likely it will be fenced at all times except for planned events, but there is the possibility of experimenting with closure times, keeping the gates open during the day, for example, and shutting them at night. 0% Tags: homeless • public spaces Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%
Tenants displaced by two major Mission fires gathered at the Brava Theater on Saturday for a holiday dinner, sponsored by community donations, and to discuss new housing solutions. Many of the low-income tenants and families suffered devastating losses after the fires, and most are still in need of permanent housing – some of them urgently so. Over a warm buffet and tamales, with a volunteer santa handing out donated gifts to affected children, the fire victims voiced frustrations over their housing insecurity and the lack of progress in the reconstruction of their burned buildings. The Mission Economic Development Agency, which has counseled many of the victims on their needs, led the discussion.With the two year-anniversary of the 22nd and Mission fire coming up next month, some “60 people will lose their temporary housing,” said MEDA’s policy manager, Gabriel Medina.Most of those displaced by that fire, and some of the tenants displaced by the 29th and Mission fire, were housed using the city’s Good Samaritan law, which allows landlords to offer displaced tenants temporary housing at reduced rates without committing to rent-control leases in the long term, said Medina. But the program caps after a 24-month period, after which the displaced tenants will have to seek new living arrangements. “The laws that give you temporary housing, like Good Samaritan, only last two years and the rental subsidies will run out of money,” said Medina, addressing the fire victims. “So for the 22nd and Mission fire people, many will lose their temporary housing, and the 29th and Mission people will lose it a year after that.”Survivors of both fires say they haven’t necessarily found stability.“I’m still so lost,” said Stephanie Wilson, a tenant displaced from the Graywood Hotel at 3308 Mission St. by the the 29th and Mission fire. Now, Wilson said she has found temporary housing through NOVA, a violence prevention and reentry program, but that her six month lease at the 16th and Mission Street SRO where she has been placed will be ending next month. Wilson said she will have to look for another place to stay as she awaits indefinitely the reconstruction of the Graywood – adding that she hasn’t heard anything from the hotel’s owner.“I might be homeless in a minute if don’t find something else,” she said.The lives of those displaced by the 22nd and Mission Street fire are similarly up in the air. The building was ordered demolished in February, and although its residents maintain their right to return at the same affordable rents, a lack of progress in the building’s reconstruction had many questioning whether this was still an option for them. “With all the gentrification that’s going on, is there reassurance that they will rebuild our apartment? And that people can return?” a tenant from that building wanted to know. Insurance company disputes have stalled reconstruction of that building, said Peter Papadopoulos, a playwright and housing right activist.“It’s common for insurance companies to take a considerable amount of time to pay out. Landlords, if they are a single party, often can’t afford to build until they get a pay out,” he said.Papadopoulos added that buildings damaged in both blazes will unlikely be rebuilt within 24 months, and that extending the tenants’ access to emergency housing assistance is crucial. “Some of them are running out of time – 22nd Street hasn’t even started [reconstruction].”Wilfredo Gil and his family are among the tenants displaced from 22nd and Mission streets and has since been placed in temporary housing at Treasure Island. Gil said that he is paying $1,200 under the Good Samaritan program but that his lease is almost up. He wondered if his landlord will raise their rent to market rate, and if so, where he and his family will go next.“In the future I don’t know how much we will have to pay – right now it’s really hard to get a place. It’s been stressful,” he said.Solutions proposed by the agency included advocating for legislation to extend the length of these programs to allow the fire victims to stay in replacement housing for longer than the currently set limit of 24 months, as well as allowing tenants to move on to new emergency housing programs created earlier this year. The agency also proposed incentives to encourage landlords to rebuild their burned properties faster, such as tax breaks or fines, so that their tenants could exercise their legal right to return. Other solutions on the table included a short-term voucher program to hotels and SROs, to prevent homelessness among the fire victims should they lose their temporary housing. Three tenants displaced by the 29th and Mission fire found themselves homeless, and one remains on the streets.The agency also entertained the idea of creating a one-stop-shop for services for the fire victims, who are currently forced to interact with various agencies for resources.“We as nonprofit workers in the Mission could organize better,” said Tim Hoang, of the Mission SRO collaborative, which has worked with the agency and other housing rights organizations to accommodate the fire victims. “There are a lot of nonprofits [here], we all do different things working towards the same goal.” Making those services more easily accessible and navigable is key in helping disaster victims get back on their feet. “For low income-residents, their life is in crisis in multiple ways. They can’t always turn up the way you want them to,” said Hoang. 0% Tags: 22nd Street fire • displacement • Fires • homeless • SROs Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%
SAINTS beat Huddersfield 66-14 to get in to playoff contention writes Graham Henthorne.A poor first half display culminating in just a six point lead at the break saw the Saints play off hopes hanging by a thread.But nine tries in a majestic forty minutes crushed the Giants and put the Saints in command of their own destiny.In the opening stanza the Saints were a little guilty of believing their own publicity. Two tries in the first five minutes, the first a stretch from Joe Greenwood straight from the kick off after Lee Gaskell had put Scott Hale down the short side, and the second a hit and spin from Carl Forster gave the Saints a false sense of security.The Giants hit back with a chip over the defence and then kept the Saints pinned on their own line for three sets of six. Credit the defence again, however, as it didn’t buckle but forced the error and then progressed down field only for Forster to be denied by Gaskell’s forward pass.The big prop got what would have been his hat-trick try on the next set with another hit and spin over.Once again the Saints were guilty of spilling possession and the Giants pulled closer punishing a Saints knock on.Coach Talbot reminded the Saints at the break of all the hard work of the previous five weeks that was being thrown away at present and called for a big improvement. And that was exactly what he got as the real Saints took the field and steamrollered the Giants into submission.Aggressive defence forced the Giants to knock on on their own 20 and from the scrum Alex Trumper went through the line feeding it wide to Dan Brotherton for the score.From the kick off the Saints went back to back. Good drives from Scott Hale and Forster drove the team downfield and on the last Ben Karalius’ pin point high ball was knocked back in the air by Brotherton for Trumper to touch down.Gaskell treated us to a wonderful piece of slight of hand for Hale’s first as looking wide along the line he slipped a peach of a short pass to Hale who beat the full back to the line.Gaskell then scored himself dummying the kick on the last before feeding Nathan Ashe and then taking the return ball.Hale got his second after Ashe broke the line, then Ashe managed to score himself piercing the defence yet again.Josh Jones got a well deserved try pouncing on a Giants knock on, Anthony Walker charged over at the sticks and Ashe finished the scoring with his second winning the race to a loose ball.The Giants got a consolation try at the final whistle which tarnished slightly what had been a dominant half of rugby.Starting his first game Aaron McCluskey was too big a handful for the Giants to contain and teamed with Forster, Walker and the robot wrecking ball that is Jordan Hand the Saints have a quartet of forwards to match any. Couple that with second rows like Hale and Greenwood and halves of the calibre of Gaskell, Karalius and Ashe and the Saints are a force to be reckoned with.A win against the City Reds in ten days time and the play offs are a reality and the Saints will be a team very few will choose to face.The Saints would like to extend their best wishes for a swift recovery to Assistant Coach Mick Oxley who is recuperating from surgery. A task no doubt made much easier with the knowledge that his charges are continuing his good work.Match Summary:Huddersfield:Tries: Matt Dawson, Freddy Walker, Perry Whiteley.Goals: Greg McNally.St Helens:Tries: Nathan Ashe 2, Lee Gaskell, Josh Jones, Dan Brotherton, Carl Forster 2, Scott Hale 2, Joe Greenwood, Alex Trumper, Anthony Walker.Goals: Ian Cross, Tommy Johnson 3, Lee Gaskell 5.Half Time: 16-10Full Time: 66-14Teams:Huddersfield:1. Elliot Gorman; 5. Jake Shoal, 3. Chris Clark, 4. Matt Dawson, 2. Freddy Walker; 6. Ben Whitehead, 7. Greg McNally; 8. Adam Walker, 9. Owain Griffiths, 10. Dave Orwell, 11. Joe Fox, 12. Jamie Cording, 13. Aaron Briggs. Subs: 14. Perry Whiteley, 15. Tom Hall, 16. Ross Peltier, 17. Ian Davies.Saints:1. Nathan Ashe; 2. Tommy Johnson, 3. Josh Jones, 4. Ian Cross, 5. Dan Brotherton; 6. Lee Gaskell, 7. Ben Karalius; 16. Aaron McCluskey, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Carl Forster, 11. Scott Hale, 12. Joe Greenwood, 13. Danny Jones. Subs: 14. Marcus Baines, 15. Alex Trumper, 8. Anthony Walker, 17. Jordan Hand.