Tuesday, September 26, 2023


The new American RVer – not a pretty sight

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Across the nation, people are discovering just how much an RV can become a home. Full-timers have known this for ages, and snowbird RVers may spend months calling their RV “home.”

But a new breed of Americans is taking up RV living and, for them, it isn’t a life of sights on the road, visiting National Parks, nor spending a wonderful night around the campfire with new friends. For these RV dwellers, it’s $10-a-day to rent an RV on a back street, ducking police and angry neighbors, and fighting bedbugs and other vermin. These unfortunates are homeless people, in a strange, symbiotic relationship with a new breed of slumlords called Vehicle Ranchers.

photo: bryce_nesbitt on flickr.com

Here’s how it works: A Rancher hits the abandoned vehicle auction where, for example, a broken-down RV can often be bought for as little as a dollar. He tows the dead rig out of the yard and onto a local street where he parks it. An advertisement on Craigslist offering a place to sleep out of the weather for $10 a night will soon put the “no vacancy” sign up.

In many areas, as long as the vehicle is moved every 72 hours, the Vehicle Rancher can keep the game going endlessly. Worst-case scenario, if the rig is impounded the Rancher will often just leave it alone until it goes back up for auction.

One Rancher in Seattle, Richard Winn, says he feels he’s providing a reasonable service. Since none of his tenants are required to put down a deposit, nor sign any kind of binding lease, if they fail to pay their $75 a week rent, they aren’t out anything when given the boot. On the other hand, the “tenants” don’t get a key, nor are they allowed to use the toilet in the RV. In some cases they can, provided they line it with a plastic bag and dispose of the waste on their own. Winn is considered one of Seattle’s biggest Vehicle Ranching landlords, but he’s certainly not the only one.

Down in Los Angeles there’s the man who calls himself Rob. He buys abandoned RVs from a tow yard. He, however, has an inside track – he works as a tow truck driver. His tenants pay $10 a day, and some of them get a bonus. They can use their rigs’ toilets, provided they pay a bit extra. Rob has a friend who’s a septic pumping business employee, and he’ll come by and pump out the holding tanks. In the San Francisco area the prices aren’t as easy – there RV renters are charged $400 to $500 a month.

Just how big the Ranching business is can’t be quantified. In a recent survey of Seattle homeless, there were about 800 RVs being occupied by what were identified as homeless people. Just how many were on the rent-by-the-day system wasn’t clear. But even if half were Vehicle Ranched, it’s easy to see how some sharp-eyed characters might find the business a hit.

IN SOME WAYS, living this way is better than a cardboard shelter or a tent. At least the weather is largely kept out, and once inside, a dweller can lock out the bad guys. But once inside there are other problems. Likely there’s no running water, and often no place to poop. One towing company said conditions in many of the rigs they tow are so bad they prohibit their tow truck drivers from stepping inside the rigs. That decision was made after a driver came out of one rig bearing a load of bed bugs. Trash, dirt and overall filth aren’t uncommon.

Not surprisingly, business owners and residents where Vehicle Ranchers set up shop don’t find having rundown RVs on their doorsteps pleasing. Temporary tenants often find themselves on the receiving end of verbal abuse, and frequent visits from law enforcement officers. It goes with the territory.

Seattle officials are now taking aim at the Vehicle Ranching practice. The Emerald City’s mayor has a $1.3 million budget earmarked to remove and demolish the worst of the street-parked RVs. She wants more regulations that would push hard to close down Vehicle Ranchers. Likely outcomes include pushing paying customers elsewhere, perhaps into worse situations. And for those who live in a rig they already own, a law targeting Vehicle Ranching will have no effect.

Where does the answer lie? One non-profit group in Sacramento is aiming to help “non-chronic” homeless people – ones who are temporarily out of homes. The group takes donated RVs, places them in RV parks so there will be full utilities, and rents them out for around $500 to $700 a month. Inexpensive, when compared to apartment rent, but certainly out of the reach of those without a job. But like so many of the other big problems facing not just the United States but humanity as a whole, there just doesn’t seem to be any easy solution at hand.

Your comments welcome. Please be respectful.

Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


  1. I am 66 years old and I am one of those people who live in a rv. It is a 1985 Istica 23ft. With a Chevy big block. My furnace Is shot and I am on a fixed income called social security. Alot of people live in motorhomes fifth wheels and bumper pulls. I was hoping to find something in better shape than mine. I paid for the spot I stay,and didn’t consider my self homeless until I read this article.

  2. You can’t speak knowledgeably about, or have a basic understanding, of the reasons for homelessness unless you’ve spent some time close up with the homeless on a personal basis. Therefore, I recommend that you volunteer at your local homeless shelter for awhile in order to get a better understanding of the myriad causes behind homelessness. I did and I know that mental illness and drug addiction are the 2 primary causes of homelessness. I also know that the more that is done to help the homeless can have the opposite effect, it can increase the number of homeless in a locality as word gets around about the great benefits available. Unfortunately there are no easy fixes to the problem, only hard fixes that I don’t see happening until a majority of voters decide they’ve had enough and they force the hard fixes into play. But regardless, there will always be homeless.

    • Agreed. There are certainly a very limited number of people who become temporarily homeless due to extenuating circumstances (child support deductions can leave someone in CA with only the federal poverty level income, or loss of a job or reasonable living accomodation in a town with very high rents, etc.), but at least in CA, chronic homelessness is caused by a combination of drug use and mental illness. Many of these folks who become clean and sober improve their coping skills markedly, and then their welfare benefits and low income benefits such as section 8 housing (when not squandered on drugs/alcohol) are sufficient for housing and sustenance.

  3. Your country spends 100’s of millions a year housing your politicians. Horrendous sums housing, feeding and transporting the President. A country with the resources available shouldn’t have people living on the streets. California has miles of homeless people and most likely the richest people (actors) living in mansions.

    • And the governor keeps welcoming in more and more illegal aliens to spend money on, before vets and current homeless. Its a disgrace and deplorable.

  4. This is a great article bringing awareness to The Full Time RV community about how Slumlords/Vehicle Ranchers are taking advantage of the homeless or those with no other current options. (no matter the reason for being homeless, which are numerous). I loved it, thank you.

    The title in is my opinion clickbait and misleading. Newbies and future newbies have fears about getting into this great way of living. This title which has nothing to do with the written article can fuel their fears. Thanks for listening,

  5. Thank you for that very interesting article. This is a new one on me. My DH & I have been proud to have been Landlords for the majority of our 45 years together and have always treated our tenants with dignity and respect. Please do not refer to these people that move trailers about as Landlords. These “Ranchers” are may be enterpring clever and, in their minds, saving the planet by recycling old RV’s, but I, for one, am left hollow, saddened, and aghast, not only by their actions, but by their true intention.

    • The true intentions of the rvlords is the same as landlords; make a capital investement, provide a service, and make money.

      We may not like the service they provide (that people willingly purchase) but that doesn’t make it an alien concept.

    • For whom is it free? The homeless are paying, perhaps meager amounts but not for someone who is out of work, and the Ranchers are most certainly not running out of other people’s money. They are making money (or they wouldn’t be doing it) and in the case of those who leave impounded vehicles to be removed for auction (where they may well buy it back for $1) making money off the taxpayer.
      The reasons for homelessness are numerous. Yes, there are those who could get a job and don’t but there are also vets who cannot get to or afford mental health care they need, there are single parents faced with loss of a job and the inability to pay for child care while they go to a job that likely doesn’t pay enough for it anyway. The VAST majority of homeless people would never have CHOSEN to be homeless but each and every Rancher has chosen to help create and perpetuate a situation that does NOTHING to improve anything but their pocketbooks. And, I suspect these rental payments they receive fail to appear on any and every tax document they file. THEY are the thieves.

  6. So, taxpayers in Seattle are having to fork over $1.3 million to remove these street-parked RVs? Aren’t these RVs tagged and titled? Seems simple enough to follow vehicle registration laws and fine the owner.

  7. This is not just a city streets issue! My husband and I are new to RV ing and like the affordability and beauty of state campgrounds. A lot of them are located at or near prime tourist attractions. We recently camped in a NY state campground and a homeless guy was tent camping next to us. He was squatting on a campsite that was reserved by someone else, and was asked by a park employee to move to another campsite AND pay for the past 4 days which he had not done, by that evening. Next day he was still there and nobody else came to enforce the request. We are not city dwellers and were happy to be able to lock our camper at night. There were MANY families with young children staying in tents at this campground.

    • Gee, in New York huh. My guess is the state employee responsible for kicking him out decided to shirk his duty. It’s a liberal state, so until they step up and enforce the LAW. It will continue to deteriorate.

      • Keep the border wide open, Keep the drugs coming across, Keep everyone on edge not knowing what is going to happen next. Keep the country unstable and you will have more mental illness and homeless and the ranchers will thrive. Drugs and Booze is a big part of Mental Illness.
        The left is loving every minute of it. Lets all move to the left coast, burn it down and do some Rv ranching, how about it, anyone up for it. Maybe we can get some subsidies for funding. A summer of love in Seattle and Portland.  😫 

  8. In a sad way, I had to laugh at the comment about the program that puts used RV’s in campgrounds and then rented out at a reasonable amount of $500-$700 per month. If the very liberal west coast states stopped cow-towing to the public service unions and everything should be free mantra, free college, free health care, free immigration, free energy and so on, maybe, just maybe the prices for a decent apartment wouldn’t be in the thousands, hey San Francisco, and the ranchers would have less clients. In the Buffalo, NY area there are many good apartments in that price range, but our government to is trying to catch up with states like California in ridiculous taxes, fees, and Free!

    You can only take from those that work for and have it for so long until they too will have nothing of their own and nothing more to take. The urban human blight is a tragedy in the western states that gets very little attention from the national media and even less from some politicains from these areas running for president.

    • Where do most welfare recipients live? Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
      San Francisco has a large tech community who drive up the prices because they are making tons of money.
      If it weren’t for unions you would still be working 10 hour days 6 days a week with no health insurance and very little pay.
      If you are from the Buffalo area you should know this.
      But you are ok with the corporations taking everything they can and then relocate so they can make more money by paying the non union people from the south less and give them less benefits

      • John, if you read my reply I stated “Public Service Unions” such as teachers, police, firefighters, public works and such. Their retirement packages hold very few equals in the private sector.
        They are political pawns in the system on a national basis but perhaps the worst in almost bankrupt California. I have no problem with private industry unions. I realize they keep large corporations in check making sure they share the wealth and the trickle-down effect to non-union jobs and the overall economy.

      • My daughter works 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, with no benefits and for very little pay at a daycare – taking care of people’s babies!

      • Not true. You. Must work for CNN.
        here are the states with the most we,fare recipients:
        New York. Welfare spending per capita: $3,305. …
        Alaska. Welfare spending per capita: $3,020. …
        Massachusetts. Welfare spending per capita: $2,911. …
        Vermont. Welfare spending per capita: $2,842. …
        Minnesota. …
        New Mexico. …
        Delaware. …

  9. I am astonished. Like, “wow!” just can’t cover it. Drugs is not always the cause. Or alcohol. Maybe mental health has it’s presence, but that’s really a tale for another time (how many of you feel you’re just fine, when by DSM-5 you’re really not?).

    I have lived the majority of my life in an RV. Is it a matter of choice? Yes and no. Yes I’d rather live in an RV and try enjoying life free of fear of assaults or I can live in an apartment where I have fewer rights. You see, I am one of those disabled people you guys talk about. And people like me are sick and tired of being the local joke because of physical injuries that impair me yet unless someone is a doctor they cannot see the impairment.

    I have lived with this for over 35 years. In real estate I actually owned (yes, cripples have the right to own real estate! Scares you I’m sure, but it’s true!), dealing with neighbors and cops. Neighbors get nosy, don’t see you working (even if you do hold a job), and start calling the cops. Then the line of “how do we know you’re not a (insert criminal actor) if we don’t know where your money comes from?” almost always pops up. It’s extortion, really. My last home was broken into 14+ times in 3-1/2 years, and video security wasn’t helping. And even when the burglars were finally identified, the cops did nothing.

    And renting is even harder. The state says that landlords have a reasonable expectation of knowing about your income source in the event you don’t pay your rent. Ok, but does that mean it’s ok for your landlord to make fun o your impairments? No. But a lot of the time they do it anyway. Or they may not make fun of it, but somehow expect that you live a sedentary life. So when they see that you go out camping and recreating like a normal person, they become suspicious that you’re really a welfare fraud, even though you’re not on welfare. That and any other time they want to know “more” about your personal life and they enter into your apartment rummaging through your stuff until they find the documentation they wanted all along, which even the state says is never any of their business- your medical records. Unless you have $40,000 to hire a lawyer, there’s nothing you can do but move. The state says what they did is illegal, but does nothing. The feds, same thing. I have been there, I have done that, so many times you’d think I’d own a t-shirt store.

    As an RV’er I have more rights. More freedom. No, I have no more protection than before, anyone can do what they want and the cops still don’t care. But it is getting more expensive to RV.

    So is there an answer that covers all aspects of why people like me are homeless or RV full-time? Yes- respect.

    We don’t expect you to kiss our feet, but we do expect a reasonable amount of privacy. We expect to have the same rights as other Americans. We expect that while you may be friendly and want to help, sometimes the best thing you can do is jut leave us alone. Unless we ask you for help, maybe we don’t need it. All we are, really, is an eyesore to you. The less you see us the less you *really* give a {bleeped}. Out of sight, out of mind.

  10. Ultimately all forms of aid and comfort given to the homeless, addicts, and mentally challenged have to come from somewhere. Every program conceived of by man has flaws and those flaws are exacerbated by and exploited by people who exist to line their own pockets or seek to exploit those they are supposed to be helping.
    We had state institutions for the mentally challenged who couldn’t cope in society but you can thank the ACLU for putting those poor unfortunate folks on the streets and under our bridges. Yes their civil liberties may have been violated but at least they had food, shelter, safety from violent attacks and medical attention and treatment.
    You can thank the bleeding hearts that demanded that the government crack down the drug problem and waste billions of tax dollars yearly trying to stop what could have been greatly reduced with legalization, controls and regulation. The nation seems to be getting dumber instead of smarter. We realized in the 1930’s that Prohibition had failed and in the process it had created the organized crime syndicates that have plagued us ever since and the addiction problems that those organizations have fostered.
    So if we use logic and not emotion to solve our homelessness and addiction problems we should return to state institutions for the mentally disadvantaged and legalize and tax drugs with controls that are regulated by doctors and not by the DEA. The elimination of the federal, state and local drug enforcement costs would more than offset the cost of providing topnotch budgeting for the necessary facilities including the VA for vet’s suffering from PTSD, and the other difficulties of returning to civilian life.
    As for those who are homeless because they are too lazy or simply don’t want to participate in society there is no cure. To them the old adage of no work no food should not be too harsh.
    But I repeat that all of these things can only work if they are carried out with reason and logic and not emotion.
    We are only human and as such we will never concoct a perfect solution. We can only do our best knowing it will fail some, favor some and barely address the problem.
    In the short term though every municipality has the authority to limit or restrict the parking of vehicles.
    I own a house in a small Kansas town that prohibits the parking of RVs and trailers of any kind on the streets and the parking of RVs in driveways for more than 3 days. This small town employs a compliance officer who was overjoyed when she could write a citation. That is until I pointed out to her that she had the same job, attitude and approach as BTK who worked for the next town over :-). And no I didn’t get a citation so I’m not grinding an axe.
    One mans opinion.

    • Thank you for a rational comment. I also agree that “mental institutions” for lack of a better term – need to stage a comeback. At least the poor unfortunates would be off the street.

    • I did a 3 month term of study at a state psychiatric facility in CT in the mid 70’s. I completely agree with you that the ACLU is complicit in the homeless epidemic.
      The men I worked with back then would never have been able to survive once they were “freed”. My best friend’s brother, in the 90’s, was a victim of the policy of giving the mentally ill their rights. He ricocheted from being set up in an apartment, and not taking his medications, to being readmitted to the hospital, and repeat. He died alone .

      • Until Prop 13 killed the funding for state hospitals in CA in the 70s (under Reagan’s two terms as governor) CA did not have a homeless problem. The moronic policy of `Normalization’ left helpless people to fend for themselves. I totally agree with you. We may need to improve state hospitals or prisons, or schools, etc. but the idiots who thought that these folks don’t need structured living situations has never worked in a group home, psych hospital, etc. Law makers and attorneys should join the real world, instead of being insulated by their parents’ money.

  11. Came in late and can’t read all the comments, but if no one has mentioned population unsustainability as a major cause of much of this a point has been missed. People with no means can no longer continue to come to this or any other prosperous country dripping in infants and expect anything but these types of outcomes. Of course that doesn’t mean Americans and Canadians north of 49 don’t have enough home grown problems , it is just that we cannot keep breeding like fly’s and expect great results down the road. The city I live in has the highest drug abuse/use per capita in the world, next is Bern Switzerland. In case anyone wants to fact check that city is Lethbridge, Alberta.

  12. The question remains….what do we do about those that “choose” to be homeless? I have a very good, loving, wonderful friend whose son, at a very young age, “chose” to live on the streets, for the past……22 years!!! He cut off all communication with his family for most of that time. Heartbreaking, to say the least.
    Now, due to an accident and brain damage, his widowed mother has let him return to the family home. He can no longer function alone. Can’t work. Can’t interact in most situations. They barely know one another. A sad and stressful situation.

  13. there are solutions but nobody wants to hear them. Income inequality just keeps rolling along and most if not all of our representatives {bleeped} for the biggest payer. the mainstream media is broken therefore we no longer agree on basic facts. without which there is no way out.

  14. Just the fact that there are so many homeless in this country is something I for one am ashamed of. I don’t know the solution, but it’s hard to think it is this way here, what is supposed to be one of the richest countries in the world.

    • Agreed! Our system is so screwed up in so many ways.
      Healthcare is an absolute mess. No one should go bankrupt paying medical bills. There are many systems in other countries that are far superior. No, America is Not the leader in many areas of social concern. But some people are absolutely blind or simply don’t want to face the facts. We are a long way from solving many of these problems, and the current political animosity only makes things more difficult.

    • Only 1%. No one should have a billion dollars. Some one with 40 million is poor to someone with 1 billion. And we have 10s of billion billionaires. I would be happy with 1 million. 999 + 1 million in 1 billion dollars. Population in America 327 million. 1 billion would be 3 million for for every man woman and child with change left over. So if you have 80 billion you would still have 79 billion more than the rest of us. I would say wages have been a little low for some time. If we would have been paid we would have paid more tax and just maybe the country would not been 22 trillions in debt. China is not the only one been ripping us off. I’m done. Sorry.

      • I do not disagree with your point about there being people that are too rich but 1 billion divided by 327 million is about 3 dollars per person.

        • But if there are 1000 billionaires in the US, seizing their wealth and dividing it by 327 million starts to look like at least $3000 per person. And that ignores the fact that many billionaires will have more than $1B. So, actually, seizing their wealth and redistributing it would have a bigger impact than you think.

          A person would need to earn about $17,000 per hour for 40 hours per week for 40 years in order to become a billionaire, assuming they’d pay taxes on the income. I have ignored the fact that they’d need to spend some of that income on living expenses.

          Basically, becoming a billionaire has nothing to do with how hard you work. It’s all about ownership of assets and exploiting other people to pay for use of those assets. The rentier class simply extracts wealth from the rest of society. Most often, property / real estate. And that’s all these RV ranchers are doing – they’re following the same business model.

          The wealth of the super rich has never been “worked for” in the way most people understand, it’s been seized / gained through exploitation. I have no problem seizing it back for the good of society.

    • Ashamed? Of what? These people have made a conscious decision to live the way they live. It’s not your fault that they are in this situation. Some are mentally ill, and should be helped. The large majority are losers who have chosen this way to live. You had nothing to do with their choices.

    • It’s a MENTAL health issue people. Some will be relegated to bum status forever, history never lies, just certain peoples interpration of it does. For the majority of the rest, put them in a program modeled after the CCC, give a man worth ( yes people the vast majority are men) and he will lift himself up. But under the current nanny state mantra, this CANNOT happen. What’s interesting is there is a mild revolt starting to brew in the bastions of where most of these bums reside. Ironically, it’s from the very people that pushed that mindset, that enabled the proliferation of the nanny state to thrive. It will get a lot worse before it has a chance to get better. The next two years of ” we the people” might prevail. If im wrong, buckle up, because you havnt seen anything yet.

  15. I am in agreement with a post above regarding the advertisement for “rent your rv”. I got a bad feeling in my gut the second I set eyes on it, and I had not yet read this article. Who buys an RV to rent it out? There are legitimate RV rental companies that do this and adhere to standards. Do you rent out your house while you’re on holiday? (Yes, I know, some people do exchanges, but I’m not talking about that.) This will quickly morph into the Airbnb of the trailer world, and we all know what happened to that. A bunch of people, many of them foreigners, buying up properties everywhere to rent them out and they don’t live in them, many of them don’t even live in the country. The entire idea that launched Airbnb became yet another abusive money-grubbing system.

    Allowing ads for this type of activity is giving a foothold on a reputable newsletter to slum lords who will ruin the reputation of the recreational and legitimate full-timer RV experience, and bring back the image of a “trailer trash” society that will tarnish everyone.

    I realize you need ads to keep this newsletter alive, but please, pick something else and don’t let Google Ads place them on your site either.

    • People find ways like this to take advantage of a situation and others.

      On the other hand Renting let’s you try before you buy.
      If we hadn’t been able to rent an Rv to try it out,
      We would probably never have purchased one or
      would have purchased a Class A and HATED it.
      We LOVE the mobility and ease of parking, easy driving, use as a second car, etc of our used Class B.

      There might be some who do this hoping to give a chance for a homeless person to have a place to clean up and have a shelter from bad weather.

      It was a great article about something I had never heard of.

  16. give anyone that finds them self in this situation and they will ruin any good thing, that’s why before very long walmart will not allow any parking overnight, this group would ruin everything good that they can, why can’t people learn to respect property that doesn’t belong to them, because they don’t give a {bleeped} about anything in life that’s anywhere
    near decent, some are so bad they belong in a cage , what’s the solution there isn’t one as this will continue for as long as we live here on this earth sorry to say

  17. WOW! Great article! Really eye opening. Never knew of “RV Ranchers”. Could be they’re part of the problem. I know San Diego (4th in the nation for Homeless) has a huge problem with RV homeless parking on their streets.

  18. To those that think it is not happening…IT IS. To those that think it’s either a drug or a homeless problem…YOU ARE WRONG. Folks, it is time you open your eyes and your minds to a growing problem. This is happening now in the NP campgrounds as well as on the streets. The Police, Camp Hosts and Rangers try to keep an eye on this, but it is getting harder and harder to do so.

  19. Seems like this newsletter, which I enjoyed for many years, has gone the way of the negative! Negative toward the manufacturers, the dealers that sell them, the campgrounds and now the seedier side of RV use. Could we get back on a positive note of RVing? Or at least have a balance? Great places to go, beauty to see and great people to meet! RV tips to make things more fun or easier? There are many more positives aspects to write about! Let’s put the Recreational back in RV!

    • I belong to harvest hosts a fantastic idea, but they just sent out a list of rules why because of stupid people who will ruin any good thing in life cause they don’t give a {bleeped} about someone else’s property and that’s just the way it is now-a-days, so yeah I would like everyone to be talking about the positive side of life but guess what the stupid people just keep getting in the way

    • I like to be prepared and informed of things ongoing in my community and on the road. That some folks among us prefer to not do so, is a choice they have to live with if something goes wrong. I think many of us found this article incredibly well placed, well written and informing. Sorry some only want the good stuff. I wish them luck, lots of it.

  20. “Verbal abuse”. What a joke. How do you kindly say to someone “please do not deficate on the sidewalk”? I live in the PNW, it’s already been established, this is not a “homeless” problem, it’s a drug problem.

    • Agreed. These drugs come in from Mexico! How many lives are ruined especially young kids! When will they start holding Mexico responsible for American children / teens / adults affected by their drug mules?
      Nobody talks about this! Media is too busy worrying about illegal children and yes… those poor kids are used as pawns by human traffickers and even their own parents!

    • And cities in the PNW thought providing needles and a place to shoot up is humanitarian! This is going to real ugly, I mean way more than taking a poop on the side walk stuff. Let’s see how the next two years goes.

      For those in California, you probably can’t read this because your power was turned off to stave off a wild fires. So, please feel the need to comment, after the lights come back on in a few days :). Awesome times we live in aren’t they.

    • The way you say “Please do not *defecate on the sidewalk” is to point them to the public restroom which is surely nearby.

  21. I had no clue that this type of renting went on. No wonder some have a negative image of RV’ers, yet those are not RV’ers. I strongly agree with the one post here that the underlying issue is mental illness.

    • It’s also why local authorities almost always decline an application to build a new RV park in their community. They think of them all as ‘trailer parks’. The private parks will soon only be held by large corporate owners and will sell sites for $100,000 and up which owners will then pay monthly HOA dues on. The rest of the RVers will have to use state and national parks.

      • But, I’ll bet if those kinds of places pop up, there will be NONE of the issues found with ‘curbside RV’ing’. I wouldn’t be a customer or buyer myself, but that’s just me. I still like RV’ing the old fashioned way. Unfortunately, here in Carson City, the powers that be have almost agreed to a 227 lot RV park which would be sold off as owner lots. Doesn’t look good . . .

  22. Homeless people are there for a variety of reasons – mental issues, jobless issues, runaways, etc… There is no one fix cures all solution. However, there is one solution that will compound the problem every time – subsidizing them. So long as any locality is willing to pour money into the problem, the homeless will be there to take advantage of it. This has been true throughout history and can be seen through the communication tactics employed by the homeless (we use to call them bums).

    In the end, there is only one answer and it is Biblical – if they want to eat, let them work. If they wish to wander the streets, refuse to accept jobs in favor of handouts, and migrate from one place to the next to take advantage of the system, then the system and people supporting their lifestyle should be abolished. RVs should not be allowed to park on the streets overnight (park in your own driveway/yard), and homeless shelters should be shut down. For the truly mentally ill, there are facilities around the state/country. Send them there. The rest can go out and get a job or get unemployment until they do get a job.

    It’s time we stop coddling people because “WE” feel bad for them. There are always those in society who will take advantage of others good will. The sooner we see how we’re supporting a broken system, the sooner we help them get back into productive society.

    • Completely agree with this evaluation. After living in Daytona Beach, I was appalled at the arrogance and sense of entitlement of the ‘homeless’ They have become organized and shut down everything from public parks to county buildings. Also, the town of Daytona is literally overrun. I hired quite a few of them, but generally they only worked, if they showed up, until I paid them, then they were gone. The amount of handouts and facilities they have in that area is staggering. There is even local church busing to their church for weekly showers, and basics. I saw the same thing while RVing thru out California. In my current home, up north where it gets cold, and people tend to be a bit more sensible, we have very few homeless. They are quickly overseen by a service area, and dealt quickly. Seems like enabling has become thee byword of this generation.

    • “For the truly mentally ill, there are facilities around the state/country.”
      I don’t think is true anymore, except perhaps for the criminally insane. Missouri, the state I live in, closed most of the mental hospitals in the ’80s. For a few years, a lot of the patients had subsidized housing – unfortunately, most of the ex-patients were completely unable to live on their own and landlords exited the housing program. Now they live on the streets.

    • There’s an evenhanded documentary about homelessness in Seattle done by the local NBC affiliate. Anyone who is really interested in what’s going on with homelessness would do well to watch it. https://youtu.be/bpAi70WWBlw

      If you want to help the homeless, find an organization that has real programs to help them get on their feet and give any money you would give to street people to those orgs.

      Also, fight local government officials who support legalizing camping in public areas. People with motorhomes who do this are neither RVing, nor being a resident of a city.

      • Thanks, Steve-O. Yes, it’s a very mind-opening documentary, but it’s from KOMO, an ABC affiliate. Thank you for mentioning it. It’s very depressing, especially since I’ve lived here since I was born at Seattle General Hospital in 1946. 😯 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

  23. I won’t get into my political thoughts on migrant housing because there’s no room for Facebook opinions on these pages …Please read an article here: https://www.westword.com/news/reasons-why-denvers-homeless-sleep-outside-and-not-in-overnight-shelters-10987893 – it talks about why many folks will NOT use the shelters that are set up. Building barracks won’t work when people would rather not stay. Homelessness has a huge underlying cause of mental illness, and until we start addressing that issue and remove the stigma, anything anyone builds will not be utilized. Locally, the shelters are full on very cold nights, but it takes teams of people to convince those on the streets that they need to come inside.

    • I too did not know that this practice of RV Ranching existed!

      The article may explain why I was harassed in my RV last year, after parking near a business to drop off my kid for a tutoring lesson. It may also shed light on why we get funny looks when we pull into a shopping center for groceries on trips. The people giving us the looks, probably have negative experiences with other so-called RV dwellers.

      As for those who stated this is a negative article. May I kindly state, that being informed of issues that may give the non RV owning public a negative opinion of RV owners is important.

  24. Army barrack style compounds such as what they had back during war times (a sad time in our history) but used to house and rehabilitate. They could be placed on old military bases that are not even being, just getting run down. Yes, there is a cost, but with the wealth of this country and some adjustments in our budget it most be doable. The cost of running the operation could be deferred by many of the homeless themselves working there to earn there keep. Some of these camps housed up to 10,000 back in wartime.

    • So many of the homeless will not, or can not work. There is also the problem of keeping them on the barracks ground, with a willingness to stay in the system of helps. There seems to be a general feeling of not working with in the system that the homeless seem embrace. There are currently MANY programs to help them, but they don’t seem to be willing to leave their established lifestyle. I do believe there are some who have not chosen this lifestyle, and will accept a hand up, but I don’t think that is a large percentage.

    • Craig LeClerc’s idea of using our military bases is an excellent idea, that I have been mentioning on several websites for the homeless, especially, but not limited too, the military homeless. I happen to be an Air Force veteran, who served during the Vietnam War but did not go to Vietnam. Today, at the age of 72 and 10 months, I am a lucky man for many, many reasons. I am also quite disappointed about what has happened to our people, both civilian and military-related. Let’s be very honest and very clear about this ‘homeless’ problem…First, and most important is, that EVERY single human being IS responsible for their well being, NOT somebody else. Proverbs said it best a long time ago…”As a man thinketh so is he.” James Allen put it this way…”They themselves are makers of themselves.” He further said…”Thought in the mind hath made us, what we are by thought was wrought and built. If a man’s mind hath evil thoughts, pain comes on him as comes the wheel the ox behind. If one endure in purity of thought, joy follows him as his own shadow—sure. There are hundreds of military bases that already have living quarters in one form or another. The ‘homeless’ could work on the base and earn the right to live in those quarters. I don’t believe in ‘handouts’…the ‘welfare’ kind or ANY handout. We have to earn it to appreciate it. There is NO right answer to this RV problem or to ‘homeless’ in general. Most of you will probably NOT agree with me, and that is ok too.

  25. I do and have done a lot of donating , food, cloths, hygiene kits and helped homeless people in the past, most of theses people I have met including my two cousins and aunt who are homeless prefer to live in tents instead of living in a family members house where there are rules and curfews , it’s a tough topic to deal with, but I feel I have the solution , the post above talks about illegal immigrants having better conditions than American homeless people, we’ll , it dawned on me that people coming over our border want to work and be part of society, and our homeless don’t , so why don’t we just do a one for one trade with Mexico !

  26. Your essay is way too nice. The problems with RV vagrant addicts is one of the ugliest social issues facing West Coast cities. Most of the street people in Seattle are addicts! Their criminal behavior is driving normal people out of Seattle.

    Please do not gloss over a festering wound of addiction, criminal behavior, and disease.

    Seattle is indeed dying, and glossing it over with a bland essay is not the way to discuss it!

    • Lydia has the right of it, give all the addicts three times to get clean, they fail, eliminate them from society. Treatment is not cheap, taxpayers pay for it, I pay enough in taxes and am tired of all the social do-gooders wanting me to pay for even more social services, when what is now being used is wasteful to say the least. I will give you a helping hand but when you fail to achieve life in it’s measure, then you fail the test to the right of life. Sorry to be so harsh, but a line needs to be drawn and you don’t go past it.

      • Oh, forget to mention, we left the PNW because we saw the handwriting on the wall. The politicos, are going to bring down everyone’s else lifestyle to give the lowest rung of society a foothold, when they have failed at the aspect of life period. Where we live now, low taxes, no homeless, the best roads in the country, reasonable access to stores and great medical. I am not taxed to death here. When trouble shows up the sheriff puts them in jail or runs them off. Harsh, life is harsh, grow up or give up, those are your choices.

      • So I guess you would give anyone that has autism 3 chances to correct it or you kill them. Gays too, 3 chances or to the gas chamber with you. Cancer, here’s your 3 chances. Some people are so cluelss is scares me. Addiction is a medically recognized disease for which there is NO CURE! Pray to whatever you believe in that you are never struck with it.

        • Colleen, you are correct– the medical community has weighed in on addiction– only defined it poorly. It is not a disease, it is in all of us and we choose how to deal with it. Churches and communities have not done their part in continual teaching of what is right and the need for vigilance. If you are a ‘workaholic’ then you have an addiction problem. If you are obese you have an addiction problem. If you spend too much on unneeded items and go broke you have an addiction. We have drunks and drug users who through poor choices and a lazy culture have got to a spot that is very difficult to recover. The solution is not easy or quick and our culture is falling apart because of our excess. We could all use a lot more Jesus!

      • Eliminate them from society??? Are you talking execution? Extermination camps? Because that’s what it sounds like you’re proposing.
        Hitler tried that, didn’t work out so well.
        And no, I don’t have a solution, but “eliminating them from society” is not a solution, it’s genocide..

        • Thank you, I was wondering how long before race or religion might be included it this poster comments if he kept going. Seems many don’t realize that not all but many peoples addiction started with legal drugs due to illness, injury or traumatic events and caused them to fall into a downward spiral once hooked. Thank Big Pharma for that and lack of mental illness treatment. Imagine, after being looked down on as the skum of life, how easy is it to just pop out of that mindset? Greed, lack of compassion and intelligence is killing our world.

  27. I find it ironic that non-citizens on our Southern Border are provided with shelters and have it better than American citizens in our own Cities and States. When will our politicians address the problems we face within our own country, instead of providing food and shelter for people that shouldn’t be here in the first place. We always call ourselves “The greatest Country in the World” but we just don’t act like it. I think we can all agree that our homeless and needy should come first and a solution found that will eliminate the poor conditions these people have to live in.

    • Hey, hate to interrupt your rant on Hispanics but have you also noticed that people in prison get better treatment than the homeless where ever they come from? “3 hots and a cot” medical, dental, don’t pay rent, get paid to work (menial yes but something) Hang with the guys, workout, a little basketball or TV… How is it we as a country seem to be fine supporting them and not the homeless? Denigrating people who have mental challenges is not how you lift them up to do better. BTW, will your children be picking the fields or gutting chickens as their “career”? Who will do those jobs?

  28. Thank you for sharing this depressing information. It does explain, to me, why there are so many run down RVs on Seattles’ streets.

    • We’re on our way to Winchester Bay as I write this and we intentionally dropped onto the Pacific coast well below Seattle and Portland, and at the rate of deterioration the entire coast may be bypassed soon, we just don’t feel safe except in the largest most secure thus most expensive RV resorts. To bad it has come to this.

  29. They are “landlords”. Just because they aren’t fixed structures shouldn’t exempt the slumlord ranchers from not meeting basic services of a rental property. States or cities should go after them.

    • I have to be the dissenting voice here… cities should go after them for parking private property or litter or whatever, but not for renting an object cheaply to people who need cheap objects. They are renting a roof, not bathroom and cable TV. If I rented a tent, it shouldn’t be legally forced to have air conditioning because then I couldn’t afford ANY tent. If I buy a car, it shouldn’t be forced to be a limo, because then I have no car. You get it. Feel good legal requirements reliably turn into hurting the very people you think you’re helping. Eliminating part of the market spectrum makes it impossible for many to jump the gap.

      • Renting a car or a tent isn’t the same as renting living quarters. Living quarters have to meet certain requirements, health being a main one.
        You can rent whatever car you want as long as it gets you from point A to point B. If you are renting cars and they don’t run, you are in trouble.

    • Agree. While I feel for the plight of those who are homeless, for whatever reason, the RV rancher is a landlord. And “market spectrum affordable housing” does not apply to a facility that lacks working toilet/sink, sewage and trash services. Unfortunately, the cities need to fit this into their inspection/policing budget and figure out how to expediently (and legally) vacate and remove (in some case incinerate) these units. New methods and, if required, statutes for catching and fining RV ranchers are needed. If it costs an RV rancher more than s/he can make, many will leave the business.

      On the other hand, to allow some street RV use (for fully functioning RV) where cities deem appropriate, cities need to pass/enforce ordinance that requires reasonable fees/limits for overnight street parking of RVs. Even for cars, street restrictions are common w/parking meters, and special permit zones in many cities. They can do with only an app and posting signs. If you park a car illegally where it says “NO PARKING FROM 2AM-6AM” you expect your car will get towed. Set expectations of what and where it is legal and enforce.

  30. The homeless issue tugs at my heart, yet providing them with junk RV’s is not the answer. I would prefer a dormitory type permanent shelter for them, while the “little house village” East of Austin is successful. As for the junk RV’s, what are folks supposed to do with them, where can they be disassembled for parts and scrapped.

    • How big are the dormitories you propose Donald. I’ll suggest at the rate of this thing spreading across north America you and I and every other hard working taxpayer will never keep up to supporting those who {bleeped} up their lives, then go on to populate the state/province with copies of themselves several times over. Responsibility should be multi faceted, and It isn’t, and feeding it isn’t the answer either, You feed it they will come Confucius said something like. Lazy man wait long time for bird to drop into mouth – Confucius very outdated today.


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