When we launched the Focus E15 campaign back in 2013, we could not have predicted the attention – or indeed, the success – that it would attract in such a short period of time.
The occupation of the Carpenters Estate in 2014 as a protest against the more than 600 homes that were left empty there attracted huge media attention because it highlighted the wider issue of housing in London. A year on, this chaotic and deeply unfair system – and our campaign – continues.
Focus E15 campaign was started when a group of young mothers were handed eviction notices and were about to be shipped out of London to Manchester, Hastings and Birmingham, away from the city they grew up in, their roots and their families.
Two years on and we have managed to get over 30 homes opened that had been lying empty for years, many families and individuals housed in London, and stopped evictions in our borough Newham – we are obviously proud of this.
Every week we are contacted by more and more Londoners who are being told they have to move miles away from the city if they want to be housed.
Working-class families are still being moved out of London at a massive rate. It is hard to get information about the true figures, as these are deliberately held back or mystified, but there was a recent article in the Independent that suggested 50,000 families have been moved out – this isn't surprising, as we talk to many people every week who are in the process of being moved away.
When we go to Bridgehouse, the housing office in Newham, we see many people in that room waiting to be seen that have been offered a place outside of London. It is clearly a massive problem.
Now it has emerged that richer boroughs in London are buying houses in poorer boroughs and shipping out their council tenants to these areas, while poorer boroughs send people to Manchester, Hastings and Birmingham. It has got so bad that these other cities say they don't have adequate nursery, school or hospital spaces for these extra families. It doesn't make any sense and is a chaotic system of shipping people around.
We've had victories and success. What I mean by success is not necessarily that someone has been given a council house but sometimes they have just been moved to temporary accommodation. The point is they have not been moved out of London because they have taken a stand, and that is what is important.
When asked what the legacy of the E15 campaign is, I believe when you start to get organised and take action, you can really change things. When you get angry, instead of being sad, when you get organised and forget about being respectable, that's when change will come about, because no one else will take action and changes things for us.
We certainly can't rely on MPs as they are implementing huge austerity cuts. If we had just done what we are told and written a letter to an MP, none of this would have happened. I wouldn't have written this.
Social cleansing wasn't a term that people were using regularly, but since 2014, you can hear people talking about it, using that term, people who aren't involved in campaigns or "politicised" – that is excellent.
We are very clear that when we have successes, we shout about it. Even if it is small, it is still a victory. It is evidence that if people are organised, they can make real change.
Saskia Martha is a 23-year-old who has been active within the Focus E15 campaign since it began in August 2013.