What are we looking for? Unoccupied, empty buildings, such as those in the process of development or awaiting planning decisions, and in less than perfect condition. With a small amount of work from our experienced volunteer maintenance team, such buildings would hugely benefit the people described by Shelter and Crisis as 'hidden homeless'. FullStop Housing provides various forms of support to our occupiers, from installing facilities to co-ordinating access to specialist services. We allow people the time and space to stabilise their lives and the space to grow and move forward.
Guardian companies often provide the owners with more hassle and are more expensive than it's necessary. With FullStop Housing, not only will the owner wins financially, but they are also a part of soling London housing crisis.
Before living in a full stop space, I had been homeless for around 10 years. Since I was 22. During that time I have slept on the streets, on sofas and in squats and empty buildings. I come from a very abusive childhood/background and don't have any close family at all besides my mother who has a mental illness. As a result I found myself in quite a precarious position when I left home at 16. Even though I worked hard to be the first member of my family to go to university and studied while homeless, the unemployment crisis meant I found it hard to get a job and the housing crisis meant that I couldn't afford a home even if I could find a job. I was also completely alone with no support. Having some stability in terms of housing for the first time in almost a decade has given me more than I could possibly explain here. It has given me the chance to breathe and rebuild mentally and physically and I feel as if now I have a chance to be able to be ok and look forward to a future with some stability, security and support. We did not want our property to lay empty while were awaiting the planning permission so FullStop occupiers was a great solution. The co-ordinators of FullStop took care of all the paperwork and logistics so there was very little effort involved. When the planning permission was finally received FullStop occupiers were very helpful to our builders and architects. We are happy that the property was always utilised and never stopped being a home.
We are a young couple who struggled to rent in London due to us having a low collective income. We spent a lot of our time moving from place to place. Hostels, couch surfing, sometimes sleeping rough. This meant that finding work was very difficult. Trying to maintain this lifestyle was a downward spiral. Once we had been with Fullstop for a while we regained the confidence and stability to pursue work and provide enough for us to be happy. The project allowed us time and energy to concentrate on more than just day to day survival. After dealing with some fairly unpleasant guardian companies, FullStop seemed as a very straightforward deal with no middlemen. We were happy to get to know the people living in our properties and felt good to assist people in their moment of need.
I'm a media student, 25 years old, and for the past 3 years I've been bouncing from couch to couch and house to house, juggling with work and being able to keep up with the rest of my responsibilities. FullStopHousing has granted me the opportunity to make ends meet and given me stability to move forward with mental stability and peace of mind to organize again and participate in community projects with different communities. Facing the housing crisis FullStop Housing has been my only possibility for getting out of homelessness. FullStop Housing occupiers stayed in my property for about 6 months during which I was pleased with the level of attention given to the property. The occupiers landscaped the garden and even fixed the roof! My property looked even better after their occupancy than prior.
I am a 25 year old humanities student and writer. X Project has been fundamental to be able to have the space to study, work and stabilise my mental health. London is becoming increasingly impossible to reside in unless one has their parent's support or have connections to access cheaper accommodation. I do no possess such support and FullStop Housing has provided me the space to be able to catch up between payments at work in order to save up for the deposit. I inherited this property and for two years didn't really know what to do with it – it wasn't really fit for many purposes. FullStop Housing occupiers took care of it and even inspired my ideas as to the final layout of the property after development. I'm still in touch with a couple of them!
Living in London has involved a constant battle – meeting the costs of a stable and safe place to live being in direct conflict with taking care of my mental health. After experiencing difficulties with depression, I had to leave the multiple jobs I was holding down, to recover from what I have now realised was a significant breakdown. I stayed with friends, in empty buildings, in sublets and temporary accommodation, often moving every few weeks or more. The pressure of working relentlessly in order to afford extortionate rent and living in unpredictable circumstances left me physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, and I have been grateful for the space and stability that FullStopHousing has given me to recuperate. I have become self-employed, and been able to make massive progress working on projects which improve my mental health, and bring my skills and abilities to people and projects who can benefit from them too. I'm lucky enough to own a few properties and feel good being able to provide shelter for those less fortunate.
My experience suggests that implementing even the most rudimentary customer service values and processes would make a measurable difference to the property guardian experience. But for myself, I want no further part in this monetisation of the housing crisis.
Channel 4’s comedy series Crashing is halfway through and, apart from some excruciating sex scenes, the laughs are a bit sparse. Nevertheless, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s series breaks new territory by being the first fictional representation of property guardianship on our screens.
Property guardianship was once a win-win situation: empty buildings secured and bargain rents offered. For many the reality today is different: an underclass of renters with limited rights in grim conditions – and landowners milking the system to pay less tax. So has this small housing revolution died?