Former Pensioner Flats In Freeman’s Bay Occupied
A group of concerned Aucklanders have today occupied empty flats in 49 Beresford St, Freeman’s Bay. The group are protesting against the continued sale of council owned housing. Auckland City Council will decide about the sale strategy of all remaining council units when it meets on Thursday.
The occupied flats are empty and have been for sale for a year, while at the same time there is a long waiting list for pensioner housing.
“It’s disgusting that pensioners are being moved from their homes and that these homes are then being offered to private investors by John Bank’s Council” says one of the occupiers. “As non-violent protesters we wish to raise the point that the community does not want any more privatisation of housing or other public assets.”
The occupiers will organise a public barbecue from 3 p.m. onwards on the site of the flats, and information will be available there. The group are aiming to provide an opportunity for all council tenants to get together and defend their right to affordable housing.
At a public meeting on Sunday, attended by over 40 tenants and members of the general community, there was a strong support for the idea of withholding any rent increase, for tenants to refuse to move from their homes, and for occupying vacant units.
“This occupation is to send a clear message to the council that Aucklanders don’t want affordable housing to be sold to private investors“ a spokesperson for the group says. “If we don’t stop them now, sooner or later all tenants will be affected. What’s more, investors are already knocking on tenants’ doors and harassing them about the sale of their units.”