HAVING faced eviction and the alarming cost of living in Oxford, a university student has decided to live in a specially kitted-out van.

Chloe Jacobs’ Slough family were evicted from their home during her first year as an English Literature student at the University of Oxford.

The eviction set in motion a series of events which has led her to make the decision to crowd-fund for a van to call her home.

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The 22-year-old told the Oxford Mail: “At the end of my first term in Oxford, my family in Slough was told they would be evicted due to the financial trouble they found themselves in.

“At Easter, I went back to essentially pack up my home for storage while my family was evicted and put into a hostel for six weeks.

“I then went back to university accommodation while my family got moved out of the temporary housing, and because I was classed as an adult at university, my family got moved into a three-bedroom house in Slough, meaning there was only room for my mum, brother and sister.

“When I came home, my mum would get a second-hand sofa bed just so I could stay over.”

Oxford Mail:

Miss Jacobs explained that, because terms at Oxford are shorter than at most universities, this added further complications to her predicament.

“The college allows students to stay over but that costs money and doubles the accommodation costs you initially expect to pay,” she said.

“Quite often I found myself moving from room to room as during the vacation, the college will hold summer schools, conferences and events, which require rooms. That would make it very hard to settle and feel safe and comfortable.”

Oxford Mail:

Currently living in rented accommodation with friends in Botley, Miss Jacobs explored the possibility of renting in Oxford, however was put off by the prices.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows the median price for a one-bedroom home in Oxford is £995 – compared to £625 for England as a whole.

The same data shows the median price of a single room in Oxford is just under £600 (£598) while for England it is £400.

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“I was looking into other rented houses but moving in with other people during the middle of a pandemic didn’t seem very appealing to me,” Miss Jacobs said.

“The combination of the cost of living, the constant moving around and packing all the time, and not having a place to call my own led to this decision.

“Within a day of setting up the GoFundMe, I’d reached my £500 target so I put it up to £1,000 thinking this was ridiculous but it’s been up for a week, and it’s gone past £1,100 through the generosity of my friends and friends of friends.

Oxford Mail:

“I’ve been really fascinated by this culture of tiny homes and campervans.

“What I want to achieve is something that on the outside looks like a Transit van but on the inside is very homely.

“The van would have a kitchen area, a living area which could be turned into a bedroom and a large part of the space would be a wetroom with a shower cubicle and a composting toilet, similar to how it works in a motorhome or a campervan.”

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Mike Rowley, Oxford City Council’s cabinet member for affordable housing, said: “I’ve certainly come across people who become homeless and live in their cars, it’s not illegal but also not something I’d recommend.

“We’re building nearly 1,500 council homes in our current plan, we’ve got a credible plan to deliver them.

“In general there is a massive shortage of affordable homes but we’re doing a lot about that, but the Government needs to invest on top of council investment.”

To donate, visit: gofundme.com/f/4k865-building-a-tiny-house