These preliminary results confirm that, for many, the decision to live in a vehicle is a choice with the goal of being free, self-sufficient and having the ability to live how and where they want. The results also suggest that van living is a lifestyle that is not limited by gender or age, but instead is a viable alternative for those who seek a more affordable and less constrained living option.
And as it turns out, van living is not a fad. While many respondents were new to van living, on average, respondents indicated they had been living in a vehicle, full or part-time, for an average of two-and-a-half years.
Seventy-eight per cent of respondents permanently lived in a vehicle, while 22 percent owned or rented a home and periodically traveled in a van or motorhome. From my conversations with van dwellers, most of this latter category were retirees who lived in their residence up north for most of the year, then traveled south to live in their vehicle for the winter months.
As the housing crisis deepens, we may see more people embrace van living as a means of surviving the high cost of living. It will be up to cities and the government to accept this alternative living arrangement and consider having parking and facilities to support those who choose to live this way.
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