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Frank Hovis

Living in a van in a layby, not through choice

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This guy has a job as a builder, he's not a dosser, and he can't afford to rent somewhere in the Cotswolds where he's from (which isn't all yellow stone buidlings and Father Borwn churches).

Stupid house prices, stupid levels of rent :PissedOff:

 

Quote

 

Until recently, he shared a modest three-bedroom house with his girlfriend and three Patterdale Terriers in the neighbouring village of Preston.

But the relationship broke down in 2015 and despite still working as a roofer, he couldn't make ends meet renting a flat for him and the dogs.

Instead, he secretly bought a white van for £600, parked it in a layby and moved into it with Brambles, 17, Bella, seven and Chase, seven.

Eighteen months on, Darren is still there - sleeping on a memory foam mattress, cooking on a camping stove and going to the loo at a nearby Tesco.

He says he's been stripped of his dignity but despite everything says giving up his dogs is "not an option" - as they're the only thing he has left.

Darren said: "It is depressing coming home to a van. It is freezing cold and it does get me down, but there's nothing else I can do.

"I tried to find somewhere to live and spoke to a local charity but the cost of renting privately is atrocious. It's gone through the roof in the past few years.

"When I used to rent my own place around five years ago it was £500. There is no way I would be able to make that work now.

 

http://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/builder-moves-into-his-ford-transit-van-with-his-three-dogs-because-he-can-t-find-anywhere-to-live/story-30253964-detail/story.html

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At least dogs make good hot water bottles.  The guy has now spoiled himself for renting and likely staying in his van. Nearly everyone I know who rents simply doesn't mention the pets before they move in - and makes sure they are out of the way during inspections etc.  Stupid bureaucracy is there to be ignored or circumvented. 

Ultimately this guy has made himself homeless because of his dogs and being too honest/stupid. I'm leaning towards stupid given he's got himself in the local press over sleeping in his van - which probably some local busybody will ensure that's no longer an option either. 

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Yes, but he's saved 18 * £500 = £9k by living in his van.  If he gets to £12 - 15k he can by a static home and a ten year lease, then £500 per month will pay his site fees.

You're not menat to live there more than ten months of they year but they don't usually mind as long as you have a spearate postal address.

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If he's living in the Cotswolds where the rent and general cost of living is comically stupid then why doesn't he do what I did after realising the above and move?

He's got a van so he's mobile, plenty of places round the country looking for roofers and there are plenty of places that don't take the piss with rent, unlike the Cotswolds.

Dunno why he doesn't just say 'bollocks to this' and go elsewhere.

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1 hour ago, Sgt Hartman said:

If he's living in the Cotswolds where the rent and general cost of living is comically stupid then why doesn't he do what I did after realising the above and move?

He's got a van so he's mobile, plenty of places round the country looking for roofers and there are plenty of places that don't take the piss with rent, unlike the Cotswolds.

Dunno why he doesn't just say 'bollocks to this' and go elsewhere.

Agreed, he's wasting his time there. A difficult realisation that you have to move from where you presumably grew up due to the greed of others but it's not like he's the only one. A lot of working class people have fled the Cotswolds due to sky high prices.

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Quite. For the first decade of my life, I grew up in an OK but not anything special rural area. House prices were about £10K in early 80s, now they are £360K.  Obviously, zero chance of moving back there. 

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The article isn't clear as to whether he is a self employed one man band / sub contractor or an employee. If the former, he is in a fix because he will be entirely reliant on local contacts and referrals for work making it very difficult to move to another area because he would have to start again from nothing. He might have a better chance finding a job with a firm in a cheaper area, but relying on a single wage from the building trade it's always going to be tight with the cost of housing.

I believe there are more working (mostly) men, often struggling with genuine mental or physical problems, ended up in similar circumstances than society would like to accept. Cyclical nature of work like the building trade and disproportionate housing costs being a major factor. Here's a cheery documentary along the same theme:

 

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Frank has borrowed Spy's keyboard!O.o

A chum of mine moved to Aberdeen for work, and he was absolutely skint, and lived in a camper van, using the works facilities until he managed to get paid! Mind you that would only have been a couple of months!:o

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11 hours ago, Caravan Monster said:

The article isn't clear as to whether he is a self employed one man band / sub contractor or an employee. If the former, he is in a fix because he will be entirely reliant on local contacts and referrals for work making it very difficult to move to another area because he would have to start again from nothing. He might have a better chance finding a job with a firm in a cheaper area, but relying on a single wage from the building trade it's always going to be tight with the cost of housing.

I believe there are more working (mostly) men, often struggling with genuine mental or physical problems, ended up in similar circumstances than society would like to accept. Cyclical nature of work like the building trade and disproportionate housing costs being a major factor. Here's a cheery documentary along the same theme:

 

To be fair if he's employed then his boss is taking the piss or he needs to flatshare, if he's self-employed then he really needs to up his game and work on his contacts/client list.

Sounds harsh but I'm not overly sympathetic to his plight, I was in virtually the exact same position as this bloke (minus the bloody dogs). In the cotswolds on minimum wage - which may as well be nothing there- and resetting the bank account to zero each month as the rent was paid.

I told the boss he was taking the piss and binned it off, I had a van to my name and I used my meagre savings of 500 quid to buy some tools and drove North with my family and started a gardening business from scratch. No contacts, nothing.

That was four years ago, we bought our house last year and are doing pretty well just now. Bloody hard work but it's do-able and roofers are traditionally paid more than gardeners.

So, all in all, I think he's moping and needs to pull his finger out really. He's got a marketable skill and it's one in demand, I know a few one man band roofers up here and they are swamped with work.

Lastly, he just needs to get the fuck out of the Cotswolds. It's a theme park for the stinking rich. Unless he's a trade at the top of his game then he will struggle in that area.

Edited by Sgt Hartman

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That's a very impressive achievement Sgt :) The wage slaves often have no idea how much work there is in finding jobs, doing them and administering a one man band. I do agree with you about the chap in the article, but would add that not everyone is equally as capable of advancing themselves.

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2 hours ago, Caravan Monster said:

That's a very impressive achievement Sgt :) The wage slaves often have no idea how much work there is in finding jobs, doing them and administering a one man band. I do agree with you about the chap in the article, but would add that not everyone is equally as capable of advancing themselves.

Thanks :Beer:

It has been worth it but the first year was terrible, second so-so, third 'ooh we're doing OK here' and the fourth was when I could confidently say it's been successful. Which is nice.

I do know where the chap in the article is coming from, but there does come a point where you have to ask yourself 'am I wasting my time/energy/money/ soul here?'

If I found myself in the back of a transit with three dogs and not a pot to piss in, I'd say the answer to that question was a definitive 'yes' and I'd want to do something about it.

It's hard there though, I knew guys who were professionals in well paid jobs who were in social housing because they couldn't afford the rents. 

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8 hours ago, Caravan Monster said:

That's a very impressive achievement Sgt :) The wage slaves often have no idea how much work there is in finding jobs, doing them and administering a one man band. I do agree with you about the chap in the article, but would add that not everyone is equally as capable of advancing themselves.

I fully appreciate that and hence whenever I have been unemployed and people have suggested private practice (doing the books for sole traders, doing tax returns) I have said that I prefer to be unemployed.

Respect to the Sgt for having the balls to do uproot and start afresh like that, I was going to say that he needed to stay in the Cotswolds for work and contacts but as you demonstrate work is everywhere if you make the effort.

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On 06/04/2017 at 15:41, SCC said:

At least dogs make good hot water bottles.  The guy has now spoiled himself for renting and likely staying in his van. Nearly everyone I know who rents simply doesn't mention the pets before they move in - and makes sure they are out of the way during inspections etc.  Stupid bureaucracy is there to be ignored or circumvented. 

Ultimately this guy has made himself homeless because of his dogs and being too honest/stupid. I'm leaning towards stupid given he's got himself in the local press over sleeping in his van - which probably some local busybody will ensure that's no longer an option either. 

Agreed with all those points. If he can't afford £500 a month and is no doubt a self employed builder he could get working tax credits and claim housing benefit. Alternatively he could go down the homeless route. We've had loads of Somali immigrants last few years around here, never seen one homeless, all been given nice 3 bed or larger council houses, because they know how to play the game and play it well. If you don't play it you lose out.

 

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6 hours ago, gibbon said:

Agreed with all those points. If he can't afford £500 a month and is no doubt a self employed builder he could get working tax credits and claim housing benefit. Alternatively he could go down the homeless route. We've had loads of Somali immigrants last few years around here, never seen one homeless, all been given nice 3 bed or larger council houses, because they know how to play the game and play it well. If you don't play it you lose out.

 

Exactly: they knoe how to play the system and have organisations that will tell them exactly how to do it.

There are no organisations looking out for low paid English workers so this bloke is on his own.

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On 08/04/2017 at 00:51, Sgt Hartman said:

Thanks :Beer:

It has been worth it but the first year was terrible, second so-so, third 'ooh we're doing OK here' and the fourth was when I could confidently say it's been successful. Which is nice.

I do know where the chap in the article is coming from, but there does come a point where you have to ask yourself 'am I wasting my time/energy/money/ soul here?'

If I found myself in the back of a transit with three dogs and not a pot to piss in, I'd say the answer to that question was a definitive 'yes' and I'd want to do something about it.

It's hard there though, I knew guys who were professionals in well paid jobs who were in social housing because they couldn't afford the rents. 

I'll also add my congrats. Takes real guts to set up on your own like that. Well done, Sgt. The situation seems to be the same in North Wales. If you are halfway competent at a trade, there is plenty of work even though the area is hardly known as an economic powerhouse.  The referral network seems to work very well around here. Once you find one good guy in a particular trade, he'll refer you to another in a different trade. 

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13 hours ago, Frank Hovis said:

Exactly: they knoe how to play the system and have organisations that will tell them exactly how to do it.

There are no organisations looking out for low paid English workers so this bloke is on his own.

I made the mistake of going to citizens advice once about a complex housing matter (which they were absolutely no help on). It was rammed but I was only the native in the place. The walls were covered with posters on how to squeeze the most out the council and organisations/"charities" which will help you do it as long as you're a refugee, Somali etc nothing for natives mind.

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7 minutes ago, gibbon said:

I made the mistake of going to citizens advice once about a complex housing matter (which they were absolutely no help on). It was rammed but I was only the native in the place. The walls were covered with posters on how to squeeze the most out the council and organisations/"charities" which will help you do it as long as you're a refugee, Somali etc nothing for natives mind.

The generally well meaning people who staff these organisations forget this. There are many people eligible for benefits not claiming them, such as I would guess the chap in my OP, but if they're not a special group (Syrian refugees, Somalis) then people don't set up something to help them.

My local Diocese has actually purchased a £200k property to house Syrian refugees.  The people who voted these funds through would literally have had to walk past homeless people (the centre of Truro, where the cathedral is, is a magnet for them) on their way in to approve this decision.

It's a nice message to give out to those homeless people "Out of my way, I'm going to spend £200k to help homeless people who don't have the misfortune to be British in Britain."

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On 09/04/2017 at 09:33, Frank Hovis said:

The generally well meaning people who staff these organisations forget this. There are many people eligible for benefits not claiming them, such as I would guess the chap in my OP, but if they're not a special group (Syrian refugees, Somalis) then people don't set up something to help them.

My local Diocese has actually purchased a £200k property to house Syrian refugees.  The people who voted these funds through would literally have had to walk past homeless people (the centre of Truro, where the cathedral is, is a magnet for them) on their way in to approve this decision.

It's a nice message to give out to those homeless people "Out of my way, I'm going to spend £200k to help homeless people who don't have the misfortune to be British in Britain."

Yes Frank! I feel charity should look local first!

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On 09/04/2017 at 09:17, gibbon said:

I made the mistake of going to citizens advice once about a complex housing matter (which they were absolutely no help on). It was rammed but I was only the native in the place. The walls were covered with posters on how to squeeze the most out the council and organisations/"charities" which will help you do it as long as you're a refugee, Somali etc nothing for natives mind.

Oh Christ we need a Citizens Advice thread. I don't know why they still exist, utterly useless and never of any assistance. Pretty sure it's only survived because all civil servants can refer thick people to them when they can't be bothered to deal with them directly.

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58 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

Oh Christ we need a Citizens Advice thread. I don't know why they still exist, utterly useless and never of any assistance. Pretty sure it's only survived because all civil servants can refer thick people to them when they can't be bothered to deal with them directly.

Where will all the gimmegrants go to get advice on how to wring every penny out the council/government? Half the charity sector seems just a work scheme for smug middle class white liberals to help rinse the council of money on behalf of gimmegrants

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