News: Housing chief ‘close to tears’ as London riots erupt near home

The chief executive of a housing association is helping friends and neighbours who lost their properties following a second night of rioting in parts of London and said she was “close to crying” after the devastation happened just yards away from her home.

Homes, cars and a string of major shopping chains and fast food outlets were smashed up amid clashes with police after a series of “copycat” riots broke out across several London boroughs, following earlier trouble in Tottenham, north London.

The fresh violence came after a peaceful protest in Tottenham on Saturday, which followed the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, 29, on Thursday.

Lara Oyedele, CEO of Odu-Dua Housing Association and Chair of BMENational – which promotes the work of BME housing associations – lives in Tottenham.

Although her house was unaffacted she said “she felt like crying” after seeing homes and businesses – some just a walk away from her house – gutted by fire.

She told 24dash: “I feel like crying. It’s appalling. I can’t believe people would do this to people.”

She said the premises of a training agency, who works with Odu-Dua, had been “completely gutted”, and that she was helping them today.

She added: “It looks like a war zone. I’m not going into work today but our offices are in West Hampstead. Fortunately none of our tenants will be affected as they are not where the riots broke out.”

She said the trouble had been brewing as there was “tension in the air”.

She said through the Future Jobs Fund she interviewed close to 100 young people, allowing her to guage their “frustration” at their perceived lack of a future.

She said: “This is not a surprise to me this has happened. I have told people this was going to happen. It’s obvious we are breeding a generation of young people who don’t see a future for themselves.

“We have got lots of young people who don’t have decent qualifications. The types of jobs they want they can’t get because of an oversupply of graduates.”

She said this, coupled with the fact that Haringey council has cut 70% of youth services in the borough, has meant younger people have become disillusioned with “nowhere to go”.

“There is a certain tension in the air,” she said. “People are looking for an opportunity to vent their anger.

“Alot of people involved in the riots don’t have jobs. I’m not condoning it, but it’s a reflection of what’s going on.”

Ross Macmillan

This article is reproduced courtesy of 24Dash.com.

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