The Number Of Americans Living In Their Vehicles "Explodes" As The Middle Class Collapses

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

If the U.S. economy is really doing so well, then why is homelessness rising so rapidly?

As the gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase, the middle class is steadily eroding.  In fact, I recently gave my readers 15 signs that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed.  More Americans are falling out of the middle class and into poverty with each passing day, and this is one of the big reasons why the number of homeless is surging.  For example, the number of people living on the street in L.A. has shot up 75 percent over the last 6 years.  But of course L.A. is far from alone.  Other major cities on the west coast are facing similar problems, and that includes Seattle.  It turns out that the Emerald City has seen a 46 percent rise in the number of people sleeping in their vehicles in just the past year

The number of people who live in their vehicles because they can’t find affordable housing is on the rise, even though the practice is illegal in many U.S. cities.

The number of people residing in campers and other vehicles surged 46 percent over the past year, a recent homeless census in Seattle’s King County, Washington found. The problem is “exploding” in cities with expensive housing markets, including Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco, according to Governing magazine.

Amazon, Microsoft and other big tech companies are in the Seattle area.  It is a region that is supposedly “prospering”, and yet this is going on.

Sadly, it isn’t just major urban areas that are seeing more people sleeping in their vehicles.  Over in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, many of the homeless sleep in their vehicles even in the middle of winter

Stephanie Monroe, managing director of Children Youth & Family Services at Volunteers of America, Dakotas, tells a similar story. At least 25 percent of the non-profit’s Sioux Falls clients have lived in their vehicles at some point, even during winter’s sub-freezing temperatures.

“Many of our communities don’t have formal shelter services,” she said in an interview. “It can lead to individuals resorting to living in their cars or other vehicles.”

It is time to admit that we have a problem.  The number of homeless in this country is surging, and we need to start coming up with some better solutions.

But instead, many communities are simply passing laws that make it illegal for people to sleep in their vehicles…

A recent survey by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP), which tracks policies in 187 cities, found the number of prohibitions against vehicle residency has more than doubled during the last decade.

Those laws aren’t going to solve anything.

At best, they will just encourage some of the homeless to go somewhere else.

And if our homelessness crisis is escalating this dramatically while the economy is supposedly “growing”, how bad are things going to be once the next recession officially begins?

We live at a time when the cost of living is soaring but our paychecks are not.  As a result, middle class families are being squeezed like never before.

A recent Marketwatch article highlighted the plight of California history teacher Matt Barry and his wife Nicole…

Barry’s wife, Nicole, teaches as well — they each earn $69,000, a combined salary that not long ago was enough to afford a comfortable family life. But due to the astronomical costs in his area, including real estate — a 1,500-square-foot “starter home” costs $680,000 — driving for Uber was a necessity.

“Teachers are killing themselves,” Barry says in Alissa Quart’s new book, “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America” (Ecco), out Tuesday. “I shouldn’t be having to drive Uber at eight o’clock at night on a weekday. I just shut down from the mental toll: grading papers between rides, thinking of what I could be doing instead of driving — like creating a curriculum.”

Home prices are completely out of control, but that bubble should soon burst.

However, other elements of our cost of living are only going to become even more painful.  Health care costs rise much faster than the rate of inflation every year, food prices are becoming incredibly ridiculous, and the cost of a college education is off the charts.  According to author Alissa Quart, living a middle class life is “30% more expensive” than it was two decades ago…

“Middle-class life is now 30% more expensive than it was 20 years ago,” Quart writes, citing the costs of housing, education, health care and child care in particular. “In some cases the cost of daily life over the last 20 years has doubled.”

And thanks to the trade war, prices are going to start going up more rapidly than we have seen in a very long time.

On Tuesday, we learned that diaper and toilet paper prices are rising again

Procter & Gamble said on Tuesday that it was in the process of raising Pampers’ prices in North America by 4%. P&G also began notifying retailers this week that it would increase the average prices of Bounty, Charmin, and Puffs by 5%.

P&G is raising prices because commodity and transportation cost pressures are intensifying. The hikes to Bounty and Charmin will go into effect in late October, and Puffs will become more expensive beginning early next year.

I wish that I had better news for you, but I don’t.  We are all going to have to work harder, smarter and more efficiently.  And we are definitely going to have to tighten our belts.

Many middle class families are relying on debt to get them from month to month, and consumer debt in the United States has surged to an all-time high.  But eventually a day of reckoning comes, and we all understand that.

The U.S. economy is not going to be getting any better than it is right now.  So it is time to be a lean, mean saving machine, because it will be important to have a financial cushion for the hard times that are ahead of us.


HopefulCynical Automatic Choke Wed, 08/01/2018 - 16:15 Permalink

Home prices are completely out of control, but that bubble should soon burst.

I wouldn't hold my fucking breath. All over the Western world Job #1 for politicians is to KEEP BOOMER HOME EQUITY AFLOAT. They're now officially into largest voting bloc status, as the 'Silent Generation' begins to shuffle off the mortal coil in significant numbers. Housing bubble pop = vote the bums out; neither the selfish Boomers or their even more selfish politicians give a flying fuck about any of the rest of us.

In reply to by Automatic Choke

nmewn SWRichmond Wed, 08/01/2018 - 19:03 Permalink

Notice how homelessness in America disappeared when ObaMao was in office for eight years and then miraculously reappeared when Trump came in? Why it's almost as if, it was underreported by the Alinsky Press for eight years. 

Or...Cash for Clunkers actually "worked" and they had to move back in with their parents because they had no place to "live" but now their parents are sick of their sorry ass & booted them back out into their co-signed carz.

They'll regret co-signing soon enough ;-)

In reply to by SWRichmond

glenlloyd Stan522 Wed, 08/01/2018 - 19:50 Permalink

I'd say you're close with that comment.

For exactly how long can people live juggling between CC A and CC B and a bank account with too few dollars in it?

Keeping all these things in the air can cause a great deal of stress and when it finally all falls apart it's usually past the point that the folks doing the juggling expected it to fail.

Spending beyond your means has consequences and perhaps those birds are coming home to roost.

As a side note I have been known to sleep in my car, but that was more due to me being tired on a long drive vs having to live there due to no money.

In reply to by Stan522

MrAToZ BigCumulusClouds Wed, 08/01/2018 - 23:20 Permalink

Welcome to Socialist World where the cost of living doesn't go up 30% but the ramifications of printing trillions of dollars and importing 3 million impoverished people drive down the value of the dollar to the point where you need one hell of a lot more of them to crack your monthly nut. There is not a politician in the world that can stop the wheel that is in motion.

Imagine a world where two people work full time jobs earn $69,000 and can't afford to rent an apartment. Where they are living in cars or tents and pee in bottles. Sadly, these people are probably clueless about why they are taxed so heavily to support everyone but themselves. I feel sorry for every one of these people who are at the effect of the Socialists that put them there. As for the Socialists, you let your bleeding hearts destroy untold families, sell our children into labor to pay for your endless guilt ridden ponzie schemes. Unfit to govern.

In reply to by BigCumulusClouds

CatInTheHat glenlloyd Thu, 08/02/2018 - 00:00 Permalink

With the expense of everything going up and that we are a CONSUMER economy and not a producer, nearly everyone is in debt. This is especially true if you have kids today .

The blame doesn't lie with those trying to survive but defense contractor wars that have us nearly bankrupt,  bailout of banks, stagnant wages and offshoring of jobs. 

In reply to by glenlloyd

kralizec glenlloyd Thu, 08/02/2018 - 08:47 Permalink

One cannot discount decades of progressive rot in all levels of education, media etc and the resulting poor material by which employers are left to fight over what acceptable scraps are to be had from such poor harvests...there are so many low-end/unskilled jobs available...even if the person is remotely interested in working for a living to begin with.

In reply to by glenlloyd

JohnG nmewn Wed, 08/01/2018 - 21:36 Permalink

I left home when I was 14 - my dad's favorite hobby was beating me with the nearest hard object......  I lived with friends when I could, lived at Stone Mountain Park campground for about 18 months.  Mostly worked for Mr. Harris doing construction labor or janitorial work at night - he paid cash. 

Bought a toyota corrola beater for $400 when I turned 16 and could get a license, lived in that for about a year.  Lived with some other older friends after that - I couldn't get a least as minors cannot contract.  I had the rent money.

Life got worse for me when I was 17 and the Judge explained to me that I had my choice of 5 years in jail or join any branch of the service.  Marines would take me at 17 in 1972.

Today's homeless have it easy compared to being a 14 year old kid trying to survive. 

Never sucked a dick but I knew plenty of kids that did.

In reply to by nmewn

NemesisteM FreeMoney Wed, 08/01/2018 - 18:08 Permalink

These people are doing it all wrong.  They need to take a lesson from the niggers and go get unemployment, EBT and section 8 housing... then have 5 more kids that they can't support so that the EBT card gets a bigger balance.  After that, they can claim some of the kids have mental disorders and get a sick check.



In reply to by FreeMoney