America's big cities are increasingly home to people living in their cars

Just heard a quip on a Sunday news show that Trump’s popularity is close to 50% largely because “the economy is doing well.”

Amazing how the middle and even lower class will fight over a few more scraps thrown their way, like hungry dogs, and be oh so thankful for them.

What a total crisis of imagination we have arrived at.


Darn, I was looking forward to self-driving cars so I could catch some ZZZs on my travels. Does this apply to moving vehicles?


My brother in law once pulled his VW camper-van into a quiet neighborhood just so he could clean it out and do laundry while on the road, but within minutes a resident called the police on him-- reported someone “setting up camp” in their suburb.

The key is to get a cargo van that looks like some kind of work van, maybe even with a logo on the side. You park in a residential neighborhood late at night and climb right in back (make sure the windows are blocked out so nobody can peer in and see you sleeping), then get up early and drive off to another neighborhood before exiting.

Of course none of this addresses the real problem: affordable housing. It’s going to be a situation where none of the lowest rung service workers can afford to live where they work, and/or multiple people cramming into shared apartments where they take turns sleeping in shifts.


A lot moved to Denver to get jobs in the weed industry. Same thing - no plans or skills, but they have criminal records that make them undesirable to trust with the keys to anything, so they camp in our parks and National/State forests and attack women who use the trails. Women are at least half of the taxpayers, but now they can’t use public parks or public lands because of the very real fear of being raped by a recently released convict.


Seriously, they have. That’s the “great” thing about current housing markets - many of these people aren’t even poor. They have jobs, and they’re making what should be, what used to be middle class wages. It’s just that the number of cities where a “middle class” wage isn’t actually a living wage has increased.

Oh, but they totally haven’t! It’s just illegal to sleep in your car on the street. You can still sleep in your car on private property, so that’s fine! Also, sure, you can’t sleep in public parks, or on sidewalks, but there’s always homeless shelters! Assuming you don’t have a pet or children, haven’t been banned, or - really it doesn’t matter because there’s not sufficient room anyways. So there you have it - they’re totally not outlawing homelessness itself so long as you have private property on which to sleep or because there are, in theory if not in reality, shelters.

This has been true for California as a whole since it became a state - people move here without anything lined up because it seemed like a place of opportunities, or just a cool place to be (or at least a warm place to be homeless). Lots of marginally employable people ended up here, and as long as it was affordable, they could survive, if barely. It hasn’t been affordable for decades, though. I’ve been seeing people sleeping in cars for most of my life (and cleaning up after they used my sidewalk for their toilets). Now the problem is so much worse because you can’t even get housing if you do have a job. Which is probably why we have a quarter of the country’s homeless population.

But they’ve got great imaginations - they’re imagining that the economy is suddenly doing well, after all! I was reading that consumer spending among the poor and middle class is up. This is odd because wages for those groups haven’t gone up at all in real money terms (the opposite, in fact). The extra spending turns out to be entirely from savings and newly-taken-on debt. The “good” economy amounts to more people living more precariously. I’m reminded of an interview of a Trump supporter immediately after his election. Obamacare had been bad, she agreed, but this new Trump healthcare plan was working out really great for her family. It was, of course, still Obamacare.


This is happening in New Zealand too, particularly in our largest city Auckland which is also right up there in terms of being one of the worst cities in the word for high house prices. I recently read a great comic that displays this inequality for NZ (but applicable for the West in general). I really recommend it:


I’m a Colorado resident and have a lot of sympathy for our homeless population- especially in Denver, where they’re forced out of their camps by cops in the middle of winter, have their stuff confiscated and are in very real danger of freezing to death. It’s true that a lot of them are dangerous, too, but they’re just as often victims of violence. Homeless stabbing others, homeless stabbing homeless, others stabbing homeless, always the stabbing. It’s almost like providing homeless people with free housing and support services might be better (and cheaper) than letting the murder carnival continue.


Eat the rich.


What about 18 wheelers with sleeper cabs?


Who knew Americathon was going to be accurate?


Just that this estate is common to both those on their way down, and those on their way UP.

Your go-to read is “Walden on Wheels” by Ken Ilgunas. Ilgunas is a remarkable guy in his determination to examine what human beings are capable of, not as “extreme” sports but as a regular lifestyle. After going $32K in debt for his undergrad, he worked it off by doing summers in Alaska working in a lodge and saving everything. Then he got his Masters at Duke, by living in his van in the parking lots, and wrote a book about getting by, not just living in a van ($1700, I think) but on $1.25 of food per day - same meals every day.

After the Salon article came out that was the start of the book, Duke made it illegal to camp in their lots, but the trouble with enforcing such a law against vans is that it’s very hard to prove you’re doing it. The law against cars depends on seeing the sleeper there, or noting how odd it is the car is 100% covered in shades.

So, smarten up, people! If you can’t umm, get a room, get a van.

Dear gods, where to begin? So many Faux News talking points here…

Do you have any suggestions, or do you just want to pile on with lurid alarmism?

Let’s see, maybe you could station police at the borders and have everyone who enters the state of Colorado prove that they have a job and an address. A great big, beautiful wall would make that job easier.

Tourist you say? Yeah, likely story. We’re going to need to see some utility bills and pay stubs from your real home before we let you into our state! Otherwise, you can keep your so-called tourist dollars at home!

Oh, you’re travelling with children? Well now, that was a mistake…

Because really, how dare any state/region/nation dare be perceived as being a “land of opportunity” :interrobang: We all know what nonsense that is!

If you couldn’t make good in the place you were born, stay the fuck home and starve to death there!

Those economically disadvantaged areas, they’re not sending their best They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. Although some, we assume, are good people.


Or, you know, maybe we could address some real problems,


but that would be really hard. Easier to just make it unlawful to be unable to afford housing. Once we put them in prison, they’re effectively slave labor, so there, at least and at last, they can be of some benefit to society.


Hey! You solved it! Free homes for the homeless! Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.00.

fucking usa… the land where nobody gives a shit.


I’t not a matter of it being unlawful to afford housing, it’s people who refuse to allow housing to be built… And it’s not just the existing landowners doing that.

Activist/extortionists who slow/stop all projects unless it has “sufficient” low/subsidized housing. I know of one instance where they screamed bloody murder because premium units (top floor) weren’t set aside, never stopping to realize that this increases demand for ANY units people can get their hands on… Including the rat/roach infested/rotting places that lower income people used to inhabit… Of course NOW those units get fixed up, but…

Is it any wonder the who thing looks like the scene in the godfather where they talk about everyone getting their beak wet?

1 Like

Authority loves tp dance around thay distinction, between outlawing the stuff people do, and outlawing the things people are. So its not the condition of homosexuality thats been traditionally outlawed but rather the prctice of having a sez life while gay. Being black isnt against the law in theory, but doing the rhings “normal” people do – while black -thats where youd run afoul. And it doesnt matter now how many hoops a foreign born citizen may have jumped through to get legal, with the swoop of a pen, they are suddenly “illegal persons”.

Next up, knowing posession of a conscience.


You have plenty of housing. It’s being kept vacant and used for tax write offs, investment scams and money laundering.


In other news, water is wet…

Vast swaths of the American middle class are dipshits. That’s why people are living in their cars. There was a time when a person could work a blue collar job and get an apartment or even a house. I worked in the grocery business from the early 80’s to 1999 in the Bay Area. When I started, every middle aged guy there owned a home, raised a family and had great benefits. Same could be said for all kinds of jobs all over the USA.
Then people decided that unions were bad, but greed was good.
I remember when I moved to Southern California in the early aughts after changing careers, the unions here were threatening to strike. A letter to the local paper summed up every dipshit that will vote against their own best interest. The letter writer was “shocked” to learn that her produce man made like $19/hour. This moron, rather than view this good job as a positive for the community could only think that the bag of apples cost more because of this guy.
So many people need to be drop kicked to the sun for their idiocy.

Thomas Frank continues to be right -


That’s fine for NYC, but it doesn’t hold true for California… And is completely insane thinking when the rate of return for rentals is so high. No sane person does what you describe… And if you actually READ the article you quoted, you’ll see a significant number of those units have been off the market for a very long time as VERY high end units or in the process of becoming occupied… But again, that’s NYC. California has fully one quarter of the homeless nationwide. So let’s try again, shall we?