Monday 9 October 2017

The place you call home

The place I call home
It's no secret that I live in an illegal house (you might call it a hut, a bothy, a shack, whatever). Most of my neighbours also live in informal dwellings - old vans and buses, old caravans, yurts. It's pretty common in this parish, because legal housing is unaffordable for many people. How common it is across Scotland I don't know, and I don't think anyone knows. I think it would be worth trying to find out.

So, if you live in an informal dwelling - that is, anything that isn't a legal house or flat that you legally own or rent - anywhere in Scotland, I'd like to talk to you. I've got a set of questions I'd like to ask you. Ideally I'd like to come and see you, but I can't come everywhere and see everyone, so some at least of this needs to be done by email or telephone. Ideally, if you'll permit it, I'd like to have a picture of where you live (although I understand that many people will feel anxious about this, so if you don't allow it I perfectly understand). But first, I've a web form you can fill in - and if you live in an informal dwelling I'd be really grateful if you would. It's completely anonymous.

Obviously, informal chats with self-selected folk don't produce hard, numeric data. That needs a census, and at the time of the last census, when I was sleeping rough, I couldn't even get the census people to send me a form, although I asked for one. But if we can put together at least some impressionistic data on what sorts of people are living in informal dwellings, and what (if anything) their needs are, I think that would be useful

Anything I am told, I will anonymise. I won't publish who you are, or exactly where you live (although I'd like to be able to say, for example, "I spoke to twenty people living in Galloway").

If you live in an informal dwelling (including squatting, couch-surfing or sleeping rough) and are prepared to talk to me, please let me know - either by commenting on this blog, or by emailing me.

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The fool on the hill by Simon Brooke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License