Black homelessness

West London Media Workshop

1978, ½ inch, black-and-white, original lost, 8 mins (excerpts), can also be viewed online in the London Community Video Archive (LCVA).

Interviews with young Black people about the impact of racism on their attempt to find somewhere to live. Made with the UJIMAA Housing Association.

Interview with a young male squatter (S)
S   We are squatting a house in Brixton. And we used to get a lot of trouble from the police.
I   What kind of trouble?
S   In the middle of the night at about 2 o’clock when you are asleep, they burst in and get you out of bed. They hardly give you time to put on your clothes. And they take you straight to the police station.
I   Was this because you were squatters?
S  Yes, because we were squatters. We’ve just left home. And we could get nowhere to stay.
I   Why did you leave home?
S  I left home because I was there too long and I wanted to come out and try things myself. Do you know what I mean? Various other people leave for various reasons.
I   What is the most common reason why people leave home?
S   They can’t get along with their brother or father.
I   And where did you go when you left home?
S   I went to Brixton.
I   You are from Wandsworth. Couldn’t you find a place in Wandsworth?
S   There weren’t much people squatting in the Borough of Wandsworth. But in Lambeth there was a lot of it, you know.