Wednesday, 02 December 2015

Housing office set alight as violence spreads

A disused housing office in Salford was attacked last night as rioting spread across the north and midlands.

Initial reports suggested a building set alight near the Pendleton Gateway Centre was a housing office run by arm’s-length management organisation Salix Homes. However Salford Council has now said the building was no longer used for housing purposes, and instead is a storage unit.

There was also violence in Manchester city centre, Liverpool and Birmingham, with groups smashing shop windows and looting the goods inside.

This morning communities are preparing to begin the clean up operation, with appeals for volunteers appearing on social networking site twitter.

In London, where the violence began on Saturday, there was relative quiet. Fears of further rioting had prompted some housing organisations to suspend their services.

Homelessness charity Thames Reach abandoned its rough sleeping service, and housing association Peabody withdrew staff from the Pembury estate in Hackney.

Social landlords were also working to help tenants stay safe. Westminster arm’s-length management organisation CityWest Homes told its tenants to stay indoors if possible, and Brixton-based Ekaya Housing Association rang round all of its tenants after the violent riots in Lambeth on Sunday.

Housing managers at the 500-home association told tenants to call its emergency number if they felt threatened by further outbreaks, a spokesperson said. ‘Some people are worried, especially those with children,’ she added.

The association has also asked tenants to pass on information on rioting locations that they receive via the Blackberry Messenger service. This service allows users of the handheld device to rapidly transmit messages to networks of friends.

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