[Ben Reeve Lewis is cooking curry…)
Whilst working in Lewisham Council’s rogue landlord team I once raided an Indian restaurant that I had my eye on for some time as a pretty nice looking place to eat.
Getting into the kitchen at the back I was surprised and disappointed to see that the cupboards were just full of different Patak Curry Pastes that you can get in any supermarket.
Regular readers will know I am somewhat of a cooking enthusiast. The sort who wouldn’t dream of using a shop bought paste, preferring to make everything from scratch but I have to admit that apart from Southern Indian curries the restaurant ones do taste better than ones you try and replicate at home.
How to cook proper curries
Until I came across this rather brilliant blog run by American Dan Toombs.
Dan moved to Northallerton and fell in love with his local Indian Restaurant and set about finding out how to cook curries that taste like they do in the restaurant where they don’t use jars of paste.
It has revolutionised my curries. Check out the restaurant curry sauce base. Its genius and guarantees to give you the look, texture and flavour. No jars, just seasonal ingredients.
Seasonality in homelessness
Homelessness is also not without it’s seasonal ingredients. I have always noticed that the reception area of your average HPU [presumably Homeless Person Unit? Ed] isn’t as full on hot sunny days as it is when it’s raining. Also now is the time of year when the annual seasonal statistics are compiled by the individual councils of how many people have walked through the door, how many have they had to pick up and why.
I have this week spoken to senior managers in three different London councils who told me that in the past year have seen over a 50% increase in homelessness applications, driven by eviction under s21 where the landlord has increased the rent to London market levels that the families can no longer afford.
Rents go up, so does homelessness.
Landlord increases profit, the tax payer picks up the bill.
Back in January this year the Independent ran a piece on how homelessness had risen by a third since 2010 but that article was written before the collating of the figures for 2015/2016.
A worrying government report
Government have started receiving oral evidence to compile a better picture of homelessness, publishing the transcript of the session on the 14th March where the inconvenient truth that there has been a 30% increase in rough sleepers since last year was dumped at Westminster’s door, indicating a spike over the past year which chimes well with what senior homelessness managers are telling me on the ground.
One manager just outside London said that this time last year his council owned one hostel that was half full, being able to shelter people with local landlords but recently they have had to take on another hostel and are in negotiations for a third 37 bed monstrosity.
These kinds of figures are hot off the press and won’t be compiled nationally until months from now, so be warned.
The gentrification of Peckham – a sign of the times?
I started my housing career working in Peckham, South East London at a gigantic 1,200 bed doss house known as “The Camberwell s Spike”. Nowadays I live just on the edge of Peckham. Not in the Spike you understand, I couldn’t afford it. The buildings are still there but the dormitories which once held 40 snoring and farting men are now luxury, open plan flats that sell for £700,000.
And I read this week that Foxtons are to open up a branch in Peckham despite local opposition.
If you don’t know Peckham at all bear in mind that it was chosen as the appropriate home of Rodney and Derek Trotter in ‘’Only fools’, that gives you a flavour of it and explains why the thought of a soon to open upmarket Foxton’s somewhat does a local lad’s head in.
Lest you think I’ve done a 90 degree turn with the blog let me point out that one of the senior homelessness managers I spoke to this week said that the increase in rents driving up their homelessness figures was in part due to the recent opening of a Foxton’s branch near them and the concomitant rent increases that go with their forced style of gentrification.
This is why you are seeing so many protests, some of them violent whenever a Foxton’s tries to open its doors.
I have to say I am 100% opposed to this form of rampant consumerism and the disgusting social cleansing it brings to the capital. It is immoral and totally wrong.
Having said that Frazzy and I are selling a 2 bed house on a run down estate and are overjoyed to see Foxtons moving in and driving up prices. We wont be using any other agent.
What was it Karl Max said? “All property is theft”, indeed, but to which I would add……….”unless its mine”!
Stamp duty increase = drop in rental properties = more homelessness
24 Dash is a good blog for digging up some of the less reported stories and didn’t disappoint this week with news from Property Crowdfunding Platform “The Property Partner “ that the Stamp Duty hike has predictably seen a drop in rental properties being offered on the market
Agent’s in Derby reporting a 41% drop in supply in May over previous pre-stamp duty months. London having dropped 14.1%.
Now as I said above I’m no student of Capitalism but isn’t it the case that if supply drops off while there is still demand, prices go up?
In which case everyone is screwed and the whole sorry renting madness gets another knot in it’s tangled mess. Less rentals means rents go higher, which means less people can afford them and more families have to make homelessness applications and the B&B bill for everyone goes up.
Neatly bringing us back where we started.
What made me smile this week
A surprise free ticket to the Jazz Café came my way to see an act I’d never even heard of but who blew me away. Eli Paperboy Reed.
If you love Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, James Brown etc you will love this band. Classic soul stuff and live?
Well…………felt like I was in an Alabama Roadhouse bar in 1965 rather than over-priced, gentrified Camden Town.
See ya next week.