On the road with America's post-homed nomads


In many places, including here, seniors get an exemption. Do you know someone who actually lost their home because they couldn’t pay their taxes? (Refusing to pay doesn’t count.)


In BC seniors have the option of deferring property taxes on a primary residence until the home is sold.

On the one hand, it allows people on a fixed income with a large asset to defer the cost of their property until death, and thus stay in their homes etc. etc. Given that homes have become ridiculously expensive in the last couple of decades, and property taxes are a percentage of value, that makes a sort of sense.

In practice it means we have a vast cohort of wealthy boomers not paying any property taxes on their hugely inflated homes, forcing the rest of us to pay for all the services they are currently enjoying until they die off.

As the generation that first began the screaming for ‘tax cuts’ as they entered their peak earning years, and is now demanding that we not charge them property taxes in their retirement while simultaneously demanding increases in health care spending to support them, my sympathy is limited. The community centre which I am cheerfully paying to support is usually full of seniors, most days - and good for them. But if they can, I’d like them to pay their share.

And yet there are many, many boomers living in poverty that never had the benefit of those tax cuts they all screamed for, and aren’t getting the benefit of deferred property taxes now.


Here in PA they get a discount. My former neighbor lost her home this way.


a nation where housing has been migrated from a human necessity to an asset class

Shelter is a necessity, and “housing” is only one hideously expensive and inflexible way to achieve it. It doesn’t return very much when you compare the work to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege of being stuck in one spot, compared to improvising some materials together for a couple of hours and having the rest of your time free to do real non-wage-slave work.

But it’s not really “entitlement” when your whole population is conditioned to engage in some wasteful practice for the (somebody else’s) economy. /s


This club appears to solve at least some of the issues commenters here have raised:

I learned about them from our electric co-op’s magazine, which ran this article:

… In 1978 when club co-founder Kay Peterson was traveling full-time in an
RV with her husband, Joe, she wrote a regular column for a travel
magazine. In one column, she asked whether anyone would be interested in
a club to help maximize the RV lifestyle. A handful of folks responded,
and, thus inspired, Kay and Joe started the Escapees RV Club. Now,
nearly three decades in, there are over 34,000 member- families around
the country. Not every member can tell you every location (there are
eight Rainbow Parks, 11 co-op parks and two other related parks), but
they all know about Rainbow’s End, which became the club’s headquarters
in 1984. …



Through census records, degree of light pollution, AmTrak service routes and lack of Walmarts, I would say that the Great Basin area, Kansas/Colorado border and Wyoming and Montana are prime territory for those of this inclination. Also, some Native American reservations will allow year round sites for eighty dollars.


Property taxes usually become an issue in gentrification, or resort development. When the property values begin to rise, the taxes will as well after a lag. Hilton Head Island is an illustrative case. Most of the island was owned by former slaves and then their heirs. With the development of the resort beginning in the 50s, the property values rose for all property on the island. By the 90s, many African American residents lost their at auction for unpaid taxes. This was very often property held in their families since the end of the Civil War. Many more sold our to developers at less than favorable terms under threat of auction. The same process can and does happen in urban neighborhoods.


I wonder if this was by accident or design. Hundreds of miles away, I see HH stickers on some very nice cars.


To expand upon that somewhat, many people seriously dread the idea of homelessness - like nearly as much as death - but from my experience of nomadic living it is not the simple lack of a house that is difficult. That can be surprisingly easy to adjust to. The problematic aspects are usually bureaucracy which exists to deliberately make nomadic living difficult. Those with a functional routine typically fake some sort of permanent address for purposes of a drivers’ license, voting registration, banking, etc stuff that for many is a prerequisite to doing any sort of work or commerce.

This stuff should be really easy to design solutions for. But this is where you can see a deep institutional bias against nomadic living. And I suspect that it ties into historical prejudice against indigenous people. The fact that having a house is what allows you to be treated like a real person is a deeper and IMO somewhat separate problem from that of securing shelter itself.


If it gets anywhere near most they will push municipal laws driving them back into their rental properties.


Or any kind of of government program that wants an address, like the motor vehicle department, Some can be handled with a post office box, but there’s probably an art to that.


In Oz, it’s not unknown for homeless folks to have their mail delivered to their local MP’s office. Doing that sort of thing is seen as part of a parliamentary rep’s duties.


Maybe not a conscious Snidely Whiplash type design–by all accounts, Charles Fraser, the mastermind of Hilton Head as an understated, affluent resort, was a decent sort of haute bourgeois fellow. However, the design is clearly structural and is a feature of capitalism and its attendant legal system, not a bug.


There have been lots of new laws passed by towns trying to stop nomads from long-term parking in various areas, as well as ordinances aimed at preventing the homeless from using park benches, public restrooms, etc…


There’s mail forwarding and scanning services that cater to rv’ers.

Some say you can use it for your drivers license- and permanent address for tax purposes- and hint at using for voting.



Thanks for the tip to The Subprimes , reading it now. An interesting tale from 2015 that seems eerily prescient - how about squatters moving into homes immigrates had been deported from?
Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh is in a similar vein with a bit more scifi.


Or just plain engineering the benches to make trying to sleep on them as difficult as possible. e.g. all metal to suck body heat away, lots of armrests to prevent stretching out, sloped, etc.

I keep reading the title as “On the road with America’s post-hominid nomads”


dismal garden has been on boingboing before but still an amazing read:


I keep reading it as a nature documentary about bugs—

“Next up: Come with us as we follow a swarm of termites and watch them take up temporary residence in some vertically-oriented timbers.”


Public art is integral to place making strategies and Broken Windows Theory. Many public art pieces are used as symbolic markers of authority and control by the city and corporations. Public art is used as a physical expression of a social fabric that defends itself. A territorial marker of spaces that welcome legitimate uses while excluding illegitimate ones.

It makes a nice footnote to those Confederate statues in front of government buildings.