Demand for free legal help grows due to home evictions

Law Centre moves to Camden Town

Friday, 29th July — By Dan Carrier

camden28 Image 2022-07-28 at 9.19.01 PM

Staff at the Camden Community Law Centre have moved into Greenland Road

EXPERT problem solvers helping people with free legal advice have moved into a new home in Camden Town – but have been immediately faced with a wave of cost of living cases.

The Camden Community Law Centre, first founded in 1973, is now operating in Greenland Road, having left its former home – an old cinema in Prince of Wales Road – in October.

Director Sean Canning told the New Journal that the team was now faced with a raft of eviction cases.

“Housing has always been a big issue for us, and homelessness is an on going issue,” he said.

“If it is housing issue, it usually comes from a debt matter. People lose their job, miss rent payments and that starts off the possession process. It is all linked but it is usually housing that is the catalyst for other issues. A job loss can have a rolling effect.”

The centre aims to help find suitable housing for those in temporary accommodation, he said adding: “The main problem we have at the moment is getting help for people who are not a priority into housing. That is very difficult.”

Centre advisers witness each day how precarious work contracts can also be the catalyst for a range of other problems.

He added: “Universal Credit has been a complete disaster, as has the Personal Independence Payment system.

“We help clients take decisions to tribunals – and we win 97 per cent of the time. Most get a good outcome. It illustrates how broken the system is.”

Staff at the Greenland Road base are now bracing themselves for fresh waves of people who need access to advice.

Mr Canning said: “Since 2021 the cost of living crisis has really bit and in the next six months – and particularly from October onwards when the energy tariff kicks in – we will see larger and larger numbers of people come to us with debt problems.

He added: “We just do not know how it will pan out, but we are expecting a lot of people struggling to pay essential bills, and the knock on effect that has – we expect a lot of people being processed for non payment come the autumn.”

Barry’s old place

THE Law Centre has moved into the former home of the Camden Town Neighbourhood Advice Centre once run by the late Barry Sullivan. He took on hundreds of cases and could surprise authorities with wins in courts.

The council evicted it from Greenland Road in 2005 – after a siege and a rooftop standoff – but, who knows?, maybe Barry would’ve at least approved of the spirit in which the property will now be used

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