There’s a big difference between living in an RV homeless and van life. Actual homelessness is the absence of choice. Lux is 19 years old. She has been homeless since the age of 16. Lux doesn’t live in an RV because it’s cool or to save money. She doesn’t have money to rent an apartment, so for the millions of vehicle residents and mobile homeless, they don’t have a choice. This is the difference between homelessness and a nomadic lifestyle.
I cannot imagine the abuse and fear a young girl at 16 experiences from life on the streets. You must read between words when listening to a person’s story. There are years of trauma buried deep down inside.
A large majority of homeless youth are never even reported missing. They are throwaways, not runaways. Lux shares that her family situation was unhealthy.
As a minor, Lux first lived homeless in a tent but eventually got an RV. I am not sure the RV runs, but it’s much better than a tent. Sadly, the area where Lux and other vehicle residents live is scheduled for a homeless sweep. The criminalization of homelessness continues to grow in cities all over America.
Lux shares that she was assigned a housing counselor, who told Lux she was on a housing waiting list, but the person left the service provider, and it turns out Lux was never placed on a housing waiting list. This kind of runaround happens often. Homeless services are filled with layers of bureaucracy that often hurt efforts to help people.
The lack of affordable housing is the leading cause of homelessness. As rents skyrocket, remember: a $100 increase in median rent is associated with a 9% increase in homelessness. We must prevent homelessness, and in situations like Lux’s, we must get people off the streets as quickly as possible. Sadly, there is insufficient support to fix the affordable housing crisis or get homeless people the help they need, but you can change that. Please educate yourself and those around you, and PLEASE get politically active.
Special thanks to the Vehicle Resident Outreach