Vital data used to evict over 120 hostel residents in Tower Hamlets has been lost, the council have admitted.
The council’s 2016 hostels commissioning plan cites an ‘oversupply’ of beds for vulnerable women as one of the reasons for cutting down a number of hostel places in the borough. As a result, women from the Hopetown Hostel are being moved out of its premises in Whitechapel.
Feminist group Sister’s Uncut, which has been mounting a campaign against the closure, have now been told that the officer responsible for drafting the report has left the council, and that the relevant details are no longer “stored centrally”.
Sister’s Uncut submitted a Freedom of Information request after hearing from distraught residents of Hopetown, who are being served eviction notices by the council. One such resident appeared alongside the group at a health and wellbeing board meeting last week, and said the council had made her feel “like nothing”.
A spokesperson from Sister’s Uncut said: “We asked for a copy of the data because we simply don’t believe that there is no demand for the service – and now it turns out that the council have lost the data that supposedly backs up the decision.”
Former residents from the hostel have moved to areas as far as Northampton, after being told that they will no longer be provided a place in the hostel.
The group have launched an online petition to keep the hostel open, receiving over 4,000 signatures. Their spokesperson added: “With homelessness rising, social housing in crisis and refuges closing their doors, there is a clear need for women’s hostel services like Hopetown. It’s outrageous. This is a decision that is putting womens’ lives at risk – the council’s behaviour is unacceptable.”
Tower Hamlets Council did not respond to requests for comment.