High housing prices drive more people to live in vans

When housing prices are high, residents adapt in a variety of ways:

He’s not alone. Last year, 4,600 cars and RVs were used as homes, according to The Los Angeles Times…

“The main expenses are insurance for the van, which is like $60 a month,” said Hutchins. “Then, I have a storage unit for like $60.”

That puts his monthly rent at $120. The van cost him just $125 at an auction…

Hutchins works part-time at a Taco Bell to help pay the bills, and he says living in a van has slashed his cost of living by $800 a month.

He showers at the gym, cooks on a portable stove on a sidewalk (he stores his butane at his friends’ place nearby) and uses wifi at nearby coffeeshops.

Four quick thoughts:

  1. I assume this is more attractive for younger adults who are starting their careers. Even with all the buzz about tiny houses and having smaller and more sustainable settings, I can’t imagine too many people with more established careers choosing this.
  2. Traditionally, Americans like cars. This seems like a clever adaptation for people who can make it work (see #1): you have some people and it is mobile.
  3. How do municipalities view this? The article mentions that this is not against the law in Los Angeles though there may be issues with parking in different places. At the same time, how many communities would want to have significant numbers of people living in vehicles?
  4. It would be helpful to get more data on this: is this a viable option only when housing prices are really high or is this a choice made for additional reasons as well? Does the weather in LA make this easier?

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