A MOVE by Shelter, the national campaign for the homeless, to press for the legal occupation of empty houses, has been condemned by Miss Edith Urch the founder and general secretary of the Ladeyholme Housing Association, which has itself helped destitute families for 20 years.
She said this week: "While such a thing might give some homeless families the temporary illusion of a new home of their own, it can only either subject them to immense heartbreak in a year or two, or totally disrupt a fair system of housing waiting lists now operated by local authorities, who, in general, we cannot praise too highly and in our experience are doing every. thing practically possible to
help the homeless," she said.
Shelter announced this week that it was setting aside £5,000 for the Family Squatting Advisory Service, which will consist of Shelter staff members and some of London's most experienced squatters, the founders of the Lewisham Family Squatting Association.
Des Wilson, Director of Shelter, said "I should emphasise to begin with that Shelter is not underwriting, either:financially or with moral
backing, illegal squatting,
although it understands the motivation behind such activity.
He explained that the idea would be to isolate empty and inhabitable property all over London and get it occupied by families desparately needing a home.