Homeless or RV Life?

RV life has evolved over the years. Remember the days when a van down by the river signified homelessness? Well, the stigma doesn’t ring true anymore. Today, it can cost you plenty of money to RV next to a river.

But how do you know if someone living in an RV is homeless or camping by choice? In this article, we look at an interview with a woman living in an RV in Seattle. Her story may surprise you.

Let’s get into it.

What Is the Invisible People YouTube Channel? 

Invisible People is a non-profit organization educating the public about homelessness. They seek to change policies for more affordable housing and support services through advocacy. 

The organization’s YouTube channel tells the stories of people experiencing homelessness. Invisible People’s goal is to change the narrative and help create a world where everyone has a place to call home. Their videos consist of interviews to show real-life situations. 

How Old Is the Woman Invisible People Interviews in Seattle? 

Recently, Invisible People interviewed a 19-year-old woman in Seattle. They found her living in a motorhome on the street in the city.

She looks and talks like many teenagers. However, mental illness and the lack of help to manage it have left her in a situation far different from the average 19-year-old.

Why Is the Woman Living in an RV in Seattle? 

To the passerby, it may look like she’s living the van life with her cat, like many other young people. But this woman isn’t taking selfies in front of her RV to post on social media. She’s experiencing homelessness and has been for three years. 

Her parents were separated, and they were constantly arguing. She couldn’t get along with them and couldn’t handle the unhealthy environment anymore. 

Living on the streets is scary for her. She lived in a tent until another unhoused person helped her get an RV. She’s trying to get help through a counseling center, but unfortunately, the system put her on a waiting list, and now there’s a lack of communication

The interview reveals many bumps in the road to getting the help people need. There are massive housing shortages, but one can get plenty of food when living on the streets.

Tents being occupied by people who are homeless line the street in a metropolitan area.

Is the Woman Homeless or Living the RV Life?

The woman in the video is homeless. While she has an RV and shelter over her head, officials could take it away at any minute. When the interview occurred, law enforcement was gearing up for a sweep in Seattle to move homeless persons. In fact, officials towed her friend’s RV days before Invisible People filmed the video. 

The difference between RV life and being homeless is a stable and legal place to park your RV without the risk of someone taking it or towing it away. Many RVers are without a traditional home and live in their rigs full-time. But they’ve chosen the lifestyle to travel and live a simpler life with a tiny home on wheels.

Being homeless isn’t a choice. There’s a root cause that leads to someone living on the streets.

Why Are There So Many Homeless People in Seattle? 

The cost of living in Seattle is one of the main reasons for homelessness. Lack of low-income housing coupled with poor physical and mental health assistance are leading causes for someone living on the streets. 

Every situation is different and complex. Someone may have lost their job, suffered an illness or injury that produced astronomical medical bills, or has an untreated severe mental illness. No one person is the same.

In addition, Seattle has relatively mild temperatures year-round. Although it’s cold and damp in the winter, the weather makes it a more tolerable place to live on the streets than in other parts of Washington. 

This Non-Profit Donates RVs to People without Housing

How Does the New Rolling Homeless Situation Affect RVers?

The rolling homeless trend is growing up and down the west coast. People experiencing homelessness are getting old RVs to live in and park on residential streets.

Often, they acquire RVs from a “landlord” who charges rent for someone to stay in them. It’s a scheme that further harms a person, especially since old RVs can have dangerous maintenance issues. And those who are new to homelessness are easy targets for theft and assaults.

But how does it affect people RVing as a choice? While RVers used to blend in and park in various places while traveling, one needs to be more cautious these days.

If you’re traveling alone, be aware of where you are and if you might be mistaken for someone experiencing homelessness. Be careful to only park overnight where it is legal. 

In addition, parking in Walmarts overnight and other stores are starting to decrease due to the rolling homeless. Businesses don’t want the potential of crime or messes to happen in their parking lots, so they’re banning it altogether.

How Can You Help End Homelessness? 

Homelessness is not a “them” problem; it’s an “our” problem. For starters, you can help by educating yourself. Watch videos on Invisible People’s YouTube channel to hear stories of people going through hardship. Listen to what they need and how you might help alleviate the problem, even in a small way.

Are there any organizations near you assisting unhoused people?

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