Sunday 28 January 2018

Stealth London Home

I have been living in London for some time now but always found myself struggling to meet the cost of living there. Sometimes it would be a good financial month, and others it would push me to the limit. What I have noticed in London are the many number of people living in vans, coaches and buses. The average London rent for a single person in 2017 is around £800 a month and upwards if you want your own place instead of room sharing. For minimum wage workers like myself, those who are self-employed, gig economy workers, low wage earners, and non-state employees, the rents are already too high. most workers in this category are likely to be working to survive, not working for a living, if you know what i'm saying? These many low wage industries are struggling to find employees. Not because of lack of demand but because the costs involved (the maths) of living in the city are not sustainable for us.

Some of the people coming to London are particularly inventive in their methods to try to balance themselves financially. Imagine being able to reduce that huge elephant in the room that is the monthly rent bill, it is by far the largest problem for living in London or any major city. Remove that monthly amount and your life, your worries of eviction, being made homeless, all are alleviated for a while. Social housing is pretty much not going to help you in London so forget that because you have to have lived in the city for at least 2 years to be able to be considered for government help. you also have to show vulnerability, be it health reasons, violence, or seeking asylum from oppression. And you have to also have documented proof for all of these things. There are many more things that the government add to this list of requirements, and just when you think you have them all covered they will add some more. A sad truth right now is that if you are a White, British, and Male, you can ever forget about receiving government assistance, it is a titanic moment, women and children first. But is the country sinking? I'm not so sure it is. Maybe it is just false policy.

Enough politics. Van living in the city. Living in a van will help you as a low-wage worker to earn and keep it in your pocket.

By fitting out the van properly, you can even live well with heating, insulation, washing, cooking internet, lighting, water, all of the things you normally need to get by. You can also rent a postal address these days for a monthly fee.

If you have more money you could possibly buy and live on a houseboat.

So, after working hard for a while eking out a few pounds, I managed to have enough to buy a van. I spent a lot of time thinking about my needs and decided a larger van would be better for longer living in greater comfort. The VW camper is great for weekends and narrow roads, but for longer term it is a cramped place that will quickly make you an unwell employee. A luton-size box van is a popular choice and it is what I decided to opt for. It is a general rule to go for the newest van you can afford. A fully built motorhome of similar size that is showroom new will cost you over £60,000.

The van I bought seemed to be some type of mail van with internal shelving and racking. I had to clear all this out until I had a bare internal unit. A hammer and chisel is good for removing rivets. By this stage the neighbors will be gossiping about the gypsies moving in. Stand strong. London is a conservative area, conversely filled with Labour voting workers aspiring to be conservatives. Arbeit Macht Frei, but not for the creators of this phrase.

Somethings I fitted or self-built into my van included an off grid heater to keep me warm at night, 12v lighting, storage, usb charging, and a shower. It can all be had cheaply if you are prepared to hang in there on postage times, and also install yourself.

When I first started this build I thought it would have a simple completion ending, but it seems that van building is a never ending work in progress, it's a labour of love, all your efforts are your own reward. But, I have a home that I own, I have removed my rent slavery for a while, and I feel safe warm and secure. I am not reliant on government (not that they are going to help anyway), and I feel like I have effectively doubled my wage income. Right now I feel happy, more in control of my present and future, and less under pressure. It's all suddenly become manageable again.

I am hopeful not to get robbed or have it stolen, but I also know that hard times breeds opportunistic thieves, and a certain demographic seems to be performing the robberies right now which is a problem here in London. I have fitted internal locks and and alarm.

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