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Being a homeless person living in the most prosperous country on earth is a sad reality for too many Americans. but is living in an RV considered homeless?

According to the US government, the definition of being a homeless person is a person that lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and one that sleeps in a shelter designated for temporary living. An RV provides excellent nighttime accommodation and a place to call home for many.

A recreational vehicle provides a place to sleep safely and live with the basic necessities, a home on wheels. Many choose a life of adventure and exploration to live free of debt. Living off-grid in a simple, sustainable manner is how our country was forged and remains a feasible choice.

Homeless people live on the sidewalks and parks in many US cities and towns and are a sad state of affairs in a country built on the American dream. The dream was to be free and not to be living up to your eyeballs in debt in a house that you cannot afford. Those choosing to permanently call their RV home to avoid the burden of debt and living beyond their means are certainly not homeless.

If you live in an RV, Van, or Mobile Home, you are doing so for sound reasons, and you have a place to call home. Let's look at the growing trend in the world for people to choose the nomadic life and the freedoms afforded them by living in their RV.



Why The Sensitivity Regarding RV Living And Homelessness?

The homeless status of an ever-growing number of Americans is receiving more media attention each year as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are compounded by the highest inflation in the past forty years. Coupled with other social-economic issues such as the mass migration from strife-torn countries, the number of homeless has dramatically increased during the past decade.

The homeless are finding temporary shelter in various places such as abandoned buildings, subway stations, sewers systems, under overpasses, and in old and discarded vehicles, including RVs.

Many old rundown RVs are illegally parked in residential areas or are a problem for many cities and towns in the US. The homeless will exploit these RVs as a place to sleep. It is unconstitutional to ban homeless people from sleeping outside and a huge legal dilemma.

The Digital Nomadic Movements And Permanent RV Living

If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that many people can work from remote locations and need never go into an office or formal workplace to be deemed gainfully employed.

The popularity of off-grid living and the rapid expansion of internet connectivity affords an ever-growing number of people with the opportunity to live in the RV, van, sailboat, or mobile home and travel while working. The growth in overnight camping sites and parking lots where such nomadic communities can find a safe place to overnight is still catching up with the growing demand.

Many high-earning individuals in cities with a severe shortage of affordable housing to buy or rent have chosen to become digital nomads. Examples in Silicon Valley abound of employers such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon creating facilities at the workplace for their employees to have amenities such as laundromats, gyms, restaurants, and internet cafes.

The issue of student debt after qualifying from a university or college in the US is enormous. A total of $1.75 trillion is owed in student debt in 2021. Starting out for these young graduates requires some hard choices, and finding a place to stay is on top of the list.

The Baby Boomers of the post-WWII era were born into a world that had to rebuild. The world population was 2.5 billion people, and opportunities were more plentiful to find employment and housing. The world population has grown to almost 8 billion people today, of which nearly 60% live in urban areas.

Along with the growing prosperity and relentless economic growth, more and more Americans have had to cope with housing shortages and mounting personal debt. Prudent people choose to live in an affordable yet dignified manner and free themselves of the financial burden associated with a fixed property.

RV Living Is Hard Even When You Are Doing It For Fun

I have read many accounts from people enjoying their annual holidays on RV adventures with their children, and they all admit that living in an RV with your family for a month is very demanding.

The Digital Nomads that make permanent RV living a choice will amplify this sentiment. Living in the confined space of an RV, whether alone or with a family, can be most challenging. Besides living in a small shared area without all the comforts and amenities of a house, there are other challenges.

  1. Finding safe and welcoming overnight parking.

You need to plan your trip ahead of time and use the internet to find and book overnight camping sites in RV parks, national parks, and privately advertised amenities. Overnighting at off-street residential parking or Walmart parking lots is not safe, and you may be asked to leave.

  1. The Ten-Year RV Rule.

Many RV parks have their own rules regarding the age and type of RVs they will allow on their premises. As private properties, they have the right to limit access, and if your RV or camper is too old or poorly maintained, they may refuse your entrance.

  1. The unpleasantries of RV-living.

Dumping your grey and black-water tanks is a smelly business and finding places to dispose of this effluent properly is also not easy. Mobile applications help the RV community find overnight parking and amenities such as effluent dumping facilities and freshwater points.

  1. RV Etiquette is essential for peace with your neighbors.

You have to school yourself and your family on the unwritten rules of RV life. Being considerate to fellow campers, road-users, and the public requires some work. Here are some of the basics:

  • Follow the rules of the campground. Your campground has the right to make some rules designed to make it safe and fun for everyone.
  • When in doubt, ask the campground manager. It is easier to ask and get some guidance than to be kicked out.
  • Park your RV within the designated makings for your campsite, and don't let your slide-outs impede on your neighbor's space.
  • Use the utility connections with due care by not overloading the electrical pedestal or hogging the access to the water hookups.
  • Check your electrical system before leaving on the trip. Don't damage the campsite power connections with your poorly maintained connections.
  • Keep your campsite neat. Don't let your outdoor equipment lie around unguarded. It is your task to look after your stuff.
  • Be considerate where you park your RV to avoid blocking roadways. Allow sufficient room for others to move past your RV and campsite.
  • When you check in late at a campsite, consider others who may already be asleep. Be quiet and do the minimum required to get you and your family comfortable for the night.
  • Consider the campsite of your neighboring campers as private property. Don't walk through their campsite as this is considered bad manners.
  • If you are traveling with your pets, check beforehand with campground owners whether pets are allowed. Many RV campsites do not allow any pets and will deny you entry or even expel you if they find that you have a pet.
  • Observe the quiet hours and respect others at the campsite by keeping your noise levels down. If you are having a family feud, do it in the privacy of your RV and keep it respectable. Having the Police arrive to break up your scuffle will also get you expelled from the park.
  • Keep the campsite and the shared amenities clean. Use the trash cans and the waste disposal facilities to get rid of your waste. Don't burn waste.
  • Be a considerate smoker, smoke only in designated smoking areas, and always be well away from your neighbor's rig.
  • When emptying your tanks, rinse down and disinfect the black and grey water dump stations. Don't leave a smelly mess behind.
  • Control your children and consider that what you may allow your kids to do may not be acceptable to your campsite neighbors.
  • Be prompt to checkout on time. This allows the campsite management to check new campers in on time.

These are just the basic RV campground etiquette. It is not an exhaustive list, but you should perhaps not buy or rent an RV if it sounds too draconian to comply with.

Rules For Boondocking Or Dry Camping

Boondocking is one of the most rewarding ways to enjoy your RV to its full potential. You will be out in the wild without any power, water, or sewerage utility hooks ups, so be prepared.

  • Always stick to the road or previously used campsites. Overlanding across unpaved land and making a new campsite out in the wilderness should be avoided. Tread carefully with your tires and boots and leave as little evidence that you were there as possible.
  • Even when you are out in the Boonies, keep noise, fire, and smoke at a minimum. You share nature with others, and you would be surprised how far sound travels in the wild. You will also scare off the wildlife that you are there to see.
  • Take all your trash and your waste with you. You cannot dump your grey and black water or your garbage out in the wild. Don't burn your rubbish as this will cause unnecessary pollution. Leave the campsite in a better condition than you found it in.