I Want to Earn a Living, Not Beg for One

earn a living crafting and knitting

Supporting homeless artists and crafters can make a huge, positive impact on our lives. Every sale helps, for sure. It may not be possible to earn enough to secure housing, but it can help with vehicle maintenance and fuel, which are skyrocketing.

Greed-driven corporations know that people need vehicles to get to work, school, and appointments, so we are forced to pay whatever they demand. They also know people need to eat to stay alive, so they charge more for food, and we have to pay it.

While some people may save money on electric vehicles, eventually, the demand for power to recharge electric vehicles will result in the greedy justifying increased electric bills. Even if a renewable energy source is discovered that is actually renewable, our capitalistic society will corrupt that, too.

“The house always wins!” When they figure out how to do it, they will charge you for the air you breathe, even if it is polluted.

I recently wrote about being priced out of mobile homelessness, with my next step being street homelessness. It’s inching ever closer to that reality as fuel, repairs, insurance, registration, and general maintenance eat away at the pocket of every driver, especially those of us with minimal incomes.

Even if a viable renewable energy solution were available, the poorest people can’t afford them and won’t be able to for many years. New technology only becomes mainstream for poor people once it’s not new anymore.

How many years will pass before used electric cars become available? What will a used one cost? Trust me. A van is far better than a car if you’re homeless in a vehicle. There is a real shortage of electric vans available, even if you have money to purchase one. People living in a vehicle will most likely be in a gas-powered one.

I am trying my best to make money for vehicle expenses by making crafts for sale.

If I had a studio to work in, I could earn much more income than I can now. I make knitted hats and scarves in the colder months, but yarn work doesn’t appeal to me once it gets warm. I create as much as I can when I can. The rest of the time, I try to sell art or hand-sewn craft items, like reusable shopping bags or stuffed toys.

Now you might wonder about the quality of the work or the safety of buying from me. Let me tell you that my van is cleaner than most people’s homes. I vacuum it regularly, sweep dirt and debris away from my driver-side floor every time I get in the van, and sweep the bottom of my shoes off before I get in.

Using detailing brushes sold for cars, I get into the vents and dust them out every few days. I sanitize the steering wheel every day, too. When I was sick with Covid, I stored projects in progress in a zippered canvas bag under the bed area so the work never touched me while I was ill.

I wash my hands at any sink I encounter, and I use germ-killing wipes on my hands when I enter the vehicle after having been in a store. So trust me, the work is kept clean and safe. I also have no scented products in use, and my van is 100% smoke-free, so my items are odor neutral.

If any of that surprises you, please understand that many of the homeless women I’ve encountered living in a vehicle are very concerned with hygiene and cleanliness.

Many of the people experiencing homelessness in the last few years are elderly or disabled and cannot earn enough money, which causes them to lose their homes and not be able to get into another. Rents are ridiculously high, and landlords refuse to accept anyone who can’t show that they consistently bring in enough income to cover the rent.

I receive so little from a disability that there would be no way for me to do so. In the end, people priced out of housing are not the stereotypical “homeless bum” lying in an alley with a bottle. 

I would constantly work if I had a place to work, to use as a studio, a place that was 100% mine. I don’t want to beg for help. I want to generate money to help support myself.

But how can that happen without a place for a studio set up? Even staying in someone else’s home, you have limited control of things like that.

At the end of December 2016, my dear friend Maggie started a GoFundme campaign for me in the hopes that it would generate enough money to help me avert disaster. It did not. It took over half a decade to reach the first goal of $10,000, which ended up helping with van maintenance and fuel, a dental emergency, and a few massive repairs on my van. But it wasn’t enough to rescue me.

So here we are, six years in, and I am still asking the universe for the same thing. All I want is a little place to work in peace. A tiny cabin, cottage, trailer, or RV on a tiny piece of land that nobody can throw me out of. All I want is security. All I want is to live out whatever time I have left, making art in solitude and peace.

Too many people want lots of money, a house or two, fancy cars, and giant TVs. I want my non-mobile, 42-year-old, 24-foot-long, Class C motorhome on a wee piece of land with electric and water hook up so I can write, paint, sew, and create until my MS progresses to where I cannot. With my daily stress levels, however, I see the sand in my hourglass rapidly running down. I believe I will die before a solution is found. 

Homeless Loki

Homeless Loki


Homeless Loki is a disabled homeless person also on the autism spectrum currently homeless in upstate New York

Related Topics

Your support can create amazing change

Join the campaign to end homelessness by supporting the only newsroom focused solely on the topic of homelessness. Our original reporting — posted five to seven days a week — can also be found on Apple News and Google News. Through storytelling, education, news, and advocacy, we are changing the narrative on homelessness.

Invisible People is a nonprofit organization. We rely on the support of friends like you — people who understand that well-written, carefully researched stories can change minds about this issue. And that’s what leads to true transformation and policy change. Our writers have their fingers on the pulse of homeless communities. Many are formerly or currently homeless themselves. They are the real experts, passionate about ending homelessness. Your support helps us tell the true story of this crisis and solutions that will end it. Your donations help make history by telling the real story of homelessness to inspire tangible actions to end it.

Your donation, big or small, will help bring real change.


Get the Invisible People newsletter


San Diego Homeless Woman Arrested for Being Unhoused


Arrested Over 20 Times for Being Homeless in San Diego


Aging in Oakland: Elderly Homeless Woman's Fight for Housing


homeless woman in Florida



Mayor Adams

Mayor Adams’ Stigmatization of Homelessness Has a Growing Body Count

San Jose Neighborhood, affordable housing

San Jose Officials Challenge Mayor’s Move to Divert Affordable Housing Funds


For NIMBYs, All That Matters Is Keeping Homelessness Out of Sight

David Peery discusses Capitalism and how it impacts homelessness

Homelessness Is Capitalism Working as Intended

Get the Invisible People newsletter