I first noticed the crisis in the form of tents in negligible places. An industrial road, a freeway underpass. Housing one could carry. Collapsable and disposable in the hands of CalTrans workers. Makeshift and impermanent, there one day though maybe not the next. Like overnight camp sites, if only you would look for them.
Yet the proliferation of Winnebagos made the crisis truly manifest. Even changing its dynamics, conceiving a leisure vehicle as a home. A roof, a stove, a septic tank. Prefabricated and mobile; ad hoc but permanent. Housing one could drive.
Thereby innovating public space. Thoroughfares now sudden plots of private residences. An industrial road, an underpass. Or a parking spot on your block. Like fly-by-night neighbors.
It’s more affordable to be sure. No property tax on the right-of-way. No monthly rent or utilities. Just gas and maintenance. If that. Unpaid street sweeping tickets.
An artist I know moved out of her apartment and into an RV. At the time we spoke she lived in West Oakland. “I never thought I’d own my own home at 23” she said.