Rising rents are resulting Americans to live in vehicles and other vehicles
Millions of Americans are wrestling with the impossibility of a traditional middle-class existence. In homes across the country, kitchen tables are strewn with unpaid bills. Lights burn late into the night. The same calculations get performed over and over again, through exhaustion and sometimes tears.
Wages minus grocery receipts. Minus medical bills. Minus charge card indebtednes. Minus utility fees. Minus student loan and auto pays. Minus the biggest expenditure of all: rent.
In the widening gap between credits and debits hangs a question: which bits of this life are you willing to give up, so you can keep on living?
During three years of research for my volume, Nomadland: Surviving America in The Twenty-First Century, I expended period with hundreds of people who had arrived at the same answer. They gave up traditional housing and moved into” wheel estate “: RVs, traveling trailers, vans, pickup campers, even a salvaged Prius and other sedans. For many, sacrificing some material conveniences had allowed them to survive, while reclaiming a small measure of freedom and autonomy. But that didn’t mean life on the road was easy.
My first encounter with one group of the new nomads came in 2013, at the Desert Rose RV park in Fernley, Nevada. It was populated by members of the “precariat”: temporary laborers doing short-term jobs in exchange for low wages. Its citizens were full-time wanderers who dwelled in RVs and other vehicles, though at the least one guy had only a tent to live in. Many were in their 60 s and 70 s, approaching or well into traditional retirement age. Most could not afford to stop working- or pay the rent.
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