The current economy of lost living-wage jobs, high rents, foreclosures, and a shredded social safety net has pushed more people into poverty and out onto the streets since the 1960's. Homeless shelters across America are full, turning away many people in need. With friends and family unable to help in many cases, car living is the only option to avoid sleeping on the streets—and one that many are unprepared for.
"Oftentimes their car is the only thing holding their lives together and keeping them from being out in the cold," says Washington State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson about car dwellers in the Seattle Times. "We have folks hanging onto their last handful of possessions and their dignity," Seattle City Councilman Mike O'Brien says. Almost 1/3 of Seattle's homeless are living in vehicles, of which sixty percent are couples, and eighty percent had a cat or a dog. (People with pets often choose to live in cars for fear of being separated at a homeless shelter.)
And the situation is similar all over the country: "Cars are the new homeless shelters," says Joel John Roberts, CEO of PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) Partners, the largest provider of services for the homeless in Los Angeles County, which had nearly 50,000 people homeless in 2009.
Based on the author's own experience as well as additional research, Car Living When There's No Other Choice: Tips & Strategies for Survival & Safety is a book of resources and know-how to help people whose living situations have taken a short-term turn for the worse, have never previously lived in a vehicle, and need vital information to help them ride the storm out successfully until circumstances change.
Whether high-end homeless with income (such as unemployment), or destitute and desperate (penniless), by providing the precise knowledge and resources to inspire confidence and endure the situation bravely, this detailed and comprehensive text will prepare emergency car dwellers with very specific tips and strategies to live day-to-day in a vehicle with minimal stress, handle common problems, stay within the law, keep healthy, find help where it's available, and transition back into housing.
Funding for this project will cover the costs of layout and design, distribution, registry fees, copyright permission fees, some advertising, and media and book review promo copies and postage.
The book will be priced low (less than $10 for both print and Kindle) so readers can spend their money on car living necessities. It will also be promoted to city councils around the country as a resource guide to better understand the issues involuntary car dwellers face on a daily basis, as well as potential free distribution to those in need.
Note: The book cover depicted here is for mock-up purposes only for Kickstarter; the final cover may appear entirely different. Also, the book is not Seattle-centric; it provides information on car living relevant to all areas and climates of the U.S.
Risks and challenges
A second draft of the book is already completed. Publication is set for late Spring 2013 at the earliest, and Summer 2013 at the latest.
The author has successfully self-published previously on other subjects and will be using the same self-publishing route for this title. Minor delays could possibly incur due to third-party situations (e.g., proofs of book being late, design and layout issues), or other unforeseen circumstances affecting the author.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Not at this moment. A woman who was quoted in a news article about me rallied with her friends to put a roof over my head for awhile. So all of my immediate needs are met--for now. Who knows about the future?
Yes, absolutely. I completely understand the stigma of the subject at hand, and you can be credited either with a nickname/screen name known only to you OR simply as "Thanks to four Kickstarter donors who wish to remain anonymous. Your support is deeply appreciated."
Yes, actually, but not enough hours to transition back into housing yet. It's underemployment, a large reason many people are forced to live in their cars.
No, not even close. That is a common misconception about the homeless in general, and specifically about people living in their cars. This book clearly is geared toward people in short-term crisis: guiding them through and eventually out of a survival situation. It is NOT a book for a vagabond lifestyle; many of those types of car living books have already been written by others.
In 2009, Congress passed the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act, which sought to align definitions for homelessness. The HEARTH Act defined the homeless as “an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence,” including not only the sheltered and unsheltered homeless, but also those who will “imminently lose their housing,” have no subsequent residence identified, and lack the resources or support network to obtain permanent housing.(1)
To give you an example, in studies comparing urban and rural homeless populations, research has shown that homeless people in rural areas are more likely to be white, female, married, currently working, homeless for the first time, and homeless for a shorter period of time. (Fisher, 2005). (2)
Other research has shown that families, single mothers and children make up the largest group of people who are homeless in rural areas. (Vissing, 1996) (3)
So as you can see, this is hardly a lifestyle choice. It's a nightmare for a lot of people.
No, that actually belongs to the people I house sat for. My car is almost 40 years old, has over 400,000 miles on it (not by me), is very recognizable, and would look positively dreadful on a book cover.
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