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Why Mothers Have Occupied a London Public Housing Complex

Focus E15 Mothers is fighting displacement of the poor in East London.  
The center of the Focus E15 occupation
The center of the Focus E15 occupationFlickr/danstowell

LONDON—"It's ridiculous to think that these perfect flats are being boarded up and left to rot when there are people out in the streets with nowhere to go," says 20-year-old East Londoner Sam Middleton.

She's sitting with her friend Jasmin Stone in an apartment in the Carpenters Estate housing project, an easy javelin's throw from London's Olympic Park. A few weekends back, the flat lay empty and barred, waiting to be demolished and redeveloped, partly as luxury housing. Now the apartment and its neighbors have become an unofficial social center, with its own food bank, free shop, and program of workshops on housing rights.