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In-van-cible: California Housing Crisis Hits the Streets

California Housing

As recently reported by the Santa Monica Daily Press, California’s challenges with homelessness, just one aspect of its overall housing crisis, has literally taken to the streets. The Press reports on one entrepreneur who is renting out non-functional vans for low-income renters.

Venice-based Gary Gallerie lives in a van himself, and rents out 14 others to area residents for a few hundred dollars a month. The empty vans are towed to a residential neighborhood, and a door key (but not an ignition key) is given to the new resident to begin their journey in van-dwelling.

The vehicles, predictably, have no sanitary facilities or wired electricity, which leads the mind to some unsettling questions about the lifestyle. But the Press reports at least one of Gallerie’s residents doesn’t mind at all.

“It’s peaceful,” [resident Teresa Spencer] said. “I don’t have to worry about someone attacking me or taking my stuff.”

This is just another painful escalation of the housing shortage in California that has seen rents and home prices rise to some of the highest in the nation. It underscores the stakes at risk if the problem continues to be addressed by shiny but ultimately harmful policy band-aids like rent control, an idea in which California’s Governor has recently and disappointingly come out in favor.

Unfortunately, while the vans are going nowhere, California’s legislature and executive seem quite content to kick this can down the road.