ICSM is mobilising to help Citizens UK petition the London mayoral candidates to commit to making promises on Affordable Housing. Martin Lupton, the Head of the Undergraduate School, and Med Harris, the SU President, are part of a large team which is keen to involve as many students as possible.
5th Year student Sarah Sturrock has written more about this for the Gazette:
We Want You – to tackle the London housing crisis with ICSM & Citizens UK!
When you come to study or work in London, rent is one of the first things your friends from elsewhere will ask you about. How do we afford it? For ICSM students and staff, it seems we manage by accepting poor quality housing, long commutes, and part-time work balanced perilously alongside our demanding studies. This has been the case for so many years that it almost seems as though we have ceased to consider it unreasonable to spend our entire student loan, and then some, on the rent for a damp and dilapidated room in an over-occupied flat.
This year, ICSM is refusing to accept the status quo. Joining together with the nationwide community organising group Citizens UK, ICSM is taking part in a campaign for affordable housing that we hope will deliver a tangible benefit to our students, our staff, and our community.
A small group of students, led by staff members Martin Lupton, Kevin Murphy, Sohag Saleh and our ICSM Presidents past and present (Maredudd Harris, Steve Tran and Dariush Hassanzadeh-Baboli), have been feeding back to West London Citizens the issues that hit our community the hardest when it comes to housing. Last year, a survey of 5th and 6th year ICSM students found that 87% of students have financial concerns, and with average rents at that time as high as £141 per week, this is hardly surprising. During our period of listening, students spoke of being left with nowhere to stay last-minute when landlords decided to sell up, unsafe conditions in their homes, and their studies and attendance being damaged by exhausting shifts in bars and clubs to try and make ends meet.
Citizens UK have taken the concerns of London member institutions to develop a radical Housing Manifesto for the upcoming London Mayoral Elections. Viewable in full at citizensuk.org, this Manifesto asks candidates to commit to four proposals to improve the housing situation in our city:
- London Living Rent – Londoners should have to pay no more than a third of their salary on rent, and the Mayor should deliver 10,000 London Living Rent homes by the end of the Mayoralty
- Rogue Landlord Taskforce – a permanent staffed service to increase prosecutions and support tenants and communities to campaign for better landlord practice
- Good Development Standard – all developments on public land should provide 50% genuinely affordable housing and prioritise local people
- Community Land Trusts – a way of providing genuinely and permanently affordable home ownership
The most exciting part of this campaign is yet to come. To persuade frontrunner mayoral candidates Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan to commit to the proposals, all ICSM community members (staff and students) are invited to attend the London Citizens’ Mayoral Accountability Assembly on the 28th April at the Copper Box. At this poignant and powerful event, 6000 organised voters will gather and ask the candidates to publicly respond to this manifesto. We need 250 ICSM members to come with us, and we predict that those who do not attend will greatly regret missing the opportunity to speak out for their community. It is critically important that we, and our neighbours, set the agenda for this election – for our own futures in London, and for the future of our beloved medical school.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, join the Facebook group (ICSM@ Citizens Mayoral Candidates Housing Event) or see the full manifesto, available here – http://www.citizensuk.org/housing_manifesto_2016.
To attend the Copper Box event with free transport there and back, please contact email@example.com or sign up directly at:
Please do sign up asap, so we know how many people to organise transport for!