Squatters and Homeless Autonomy (S.H.A.) are a group of activist squatters living in the city of Westminster speaking out against our current political configuration and everything that is capitalism. Whilst engaging in this struggle the group occupy disused commercial buildings and convert them into unique and diverse living spaces in which they stage everything from political workshops to martial arts classes. But the space is a multifaceted one as it acts as a shelter and gives people, otherwise living on the streets, a roof to live under and place to call home (albeit, often temporarily). The group challenge the housing crisis in an active way - with over one million empty buildings throughout London and with an increasing number of people being forced to live on the streets, S.H.A. illustrate how homelessness is not the only option. But with this way of life comes great challenges, ranging from constant oppression received from the property owners through to finding and gaining access to a suitable place for them all to live.
At the beginning of summer 2015 I shadowed the group closely, looking at how they occupy and convert these disused buildings throughout Westminster into unique and organic living spaces. The photo story below explores how the group occupy these spaces, highlights the oppression they face, the art of locating and "cracking" a new location and how they then re-appropriate these spaces for new and dynamic means.