Letter: Desperation that drives the squatters

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The Independent Online
Sir: I note with dismay your decision to climb on the anti-squatter bandwagon ('While the law is an ass squatters are sitting pretty', 8 June).

It is quite simply not the case that 'every place occupied by squatters means another family condemned to the misery of bed- and-breakfast accommodation'. In my eight years as a squatter, I never lived in a place that was fit to rent (I wonder how 'pretty' you'd sit in some of the places squatters have to live) and there are still plenty of long-term empties on London's estates - closed off by expensive steel doors.

If squatters sometimes jump the queue, it is not through malice but desperation. Is the misery of the young single homeless, ineligible for even B & B and therefore forced to squat or sleep rough, so much more acceptable than the misery of families?

Squatting itself is not the problem but a symptom of the housing crisis; and the only solution to that crisis is the construction of affordable homes for rent. Undoubtedly such a solution would require taxes to be raised - perhaps that is why well- paid journalists with nice homes choose to demonise the homeless, rather than call for a policy which actually helps them.

By the way, where do you think 60,000 squatters should go if squatting is made impossible?

Yours faithfully,


London, N16

8 June