Video: ‘York rents are too high. That’s why I live in a van’
A York arts worker has explained she is living in a van – because “rent is really expensive” in the city.
Megan Bailey lives in her van, on Knavesmire most of the time, moving away on race days.
She has been interviewed by Rebecca Carr of York Design Week which starts today. The week aims to ‘make stuff better’ – including housing, one of the biggest problems facing the city.
Megan tells Rebecca: “I work in the arts, which I love. But to live in York on my wage doesn’t leave me with very much money for fun or saving, or anything else really.
“And it’s really fun.”
But if she had more money she would “co-own land and live in a tiny house”.
“Having to move all the time isn’t great, so land would be a better option,” she said. “But I think I would still live differently to a normal house
“I think you just fill houses with stuff you don’t need or want. I like the fact that there are other people who live here, and we always have fires and sit outside and have lots of fun.
“There is more of a sense of community than I have ever felt in any house I have ever rented.”
‘Rent in York is out of control’
In her full-time as a community and participation administrator at York Theatre Royal, Megan earns £19,000 a year.
“I earn just above minimum wage – so I earn £19,000 a year. Which is enough, you could rent, but the money you have left over to save for the future – I would never be able to buy a house on that.
“The arts is just really underfunded. They can’t afford to pay me any more than that
“And it’s the same across the board really.”
She hopes to be one of the first residents of a community-led development in Clifton created by OpHouse Community Benefit Society, which is working to create radically affordable homes in York.
“Rent in York is out of control,” Rebecca Carr told David Dunning on YorkMix Radio.
“Families will be made homeless – landlords are deciding to sell, house prices are on the up.
“We feel like the only way that we can see a way out of this is to do something ourselves.
“So I work on community led housing projects in York, with OpHouse – which is an affordable housing project and YoCo who are looking at a York Central co-owned neighbourhood.
“And then with YorSpace who are pioneering community land trusts and mutual home ownership models in a city.”