squatters, tents, coffee – that sort of thing

As we’ve previously established, one of my major current obsessions is housing. Being kind of homeless at the moment (albeit not roofless thank goodness) makes me more keenly aware of the built environment.

With the weather we’ve had already, and the likelihood of more cold weather to come before we hit the spring, I’m now glad that we didnt go with any kind of tent or caravan option. I notice Mark Boyle, the freeconomy guy (used to call himself Saoirse, think he’s back to Mark now) is sticking with the caravan in his search for a cashless existance. I suspect its easier to do this when you dont have children!

Anyhow, I wont deny that the notion of squatting has crossed my mind from time to time. I have to admit its not likely that I would ever go for it, what with so many sensible people in my life, but I can certainly recognise the inherent ridiculousness of empty houses in a time when people need places to live.

The Nunsthorpe estate, where we want to live, has a large amount of empty houses, one day I’ll take a camera round and document a few of them. It vexeth me muchly that these properties lie empty and unloved – and it makes me think ‘why?!’

We tried as you know to get into one such property through legal means, in other words by finding the owner and trying to convince them to let us live there. But it came to nothing.

To see houses and flats lie empty and boarded up, going slowly damp and broken down seems abhorrent when many people in much worse situations than me are without shelter – it just seems wrong! Mind you, on reflection it doesnt seem a lot better that two people can live in a house with four bedrooms…

Anyway, a couple of pretty high profile squats have come to my notice of late, one in London, and the latest one reported today in the Independent.

While I am not quite an ‘all property is theft’ type, I am nearly there, and soin this case at least, I would struggle to feel particularly sorry for the owners.

The ongoing economic downturn doesnt seem yet to have caused a drop in rental prices, nor even noticeably a drop in house prices up here, and I do wonder if we will see an increase in squatting again as the peasants revolt against the system.

As they say, the revolution will not be televised, it will be blogged (or probably twittered – blooming middle class squatters 😉 )

P.S.  Looks like we can make bio diesel from coffee grounds – so maybe the middle classes can save the world after all! LOL.

2 thoughts on “squatters, tents, coffee – that sort of thing

  1. I have a friend at work who used to squat. Apparently there is a strong community, particularly in London, of squatters who all help each other out, and can give advice etc to people interested in starting.

    When he was squatting, he had been on housing benefit, and he squatted in unused council houses, so he considered that he was saving the government money by squatting.

    The key seems to be lots of research before you move in, and being prepared to move out again at the drop of a hat, which means that you generally need to be watching a couple of places in case you suddenly have to leave your current place.

    Personally, I’m all for people living in unused properties, as long as they take good care of it, and move out promptly if the owner decides to do something with it.

  2. If you want to report an empty property to your local Council they should have a team responsible for chasing up and putting it back into use!

    Go here http://www.emptyhomes.com and you can report all the empty properties you collect on line. This site lets you report and check progress!

    It is predicted that there will be 1 million empty homes in England by next year. This means (apparently) you’ll have a 1 in 12 chance of living next door to an empty home!

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