As the cost of rents and home prices continue to outpace wages in the Bay Area, one company is building luxurious camper vans for millennials looking for alternative housing options.
The company is called "Glampervan," which is based in San Francisco, turns commercial vans into full-blown glamping vehicles, has a bed, kitchen, refrigerator, table, and a rooftop deck.
The glorified RV appears to be influenced by broke millennials, who cannot afford to own overpriced homes nor pay inflated rents in the Bay Area.
Glampervan chief excursion officer Rob Novotny told ABC 7 San Francisco, that the glamper vans were initially designed for millennial weekend glamping trips, but have become a full-time residence for many.
"One that comes to mind is a woman who is spending $5,000 for a 2-bedroom apartment and she actually has all the parking spots all throughout the city worked out already," chief excursion officer" Rob Novotny explained. "Like, this one is a Thursday; this one is a Wednesday and all that so that she won't get hassled and stay moving."
New rules in San Francisco make it illegal for people to sleep in their cars overnight, but that isn't stopping thousands of people from living in RVs and vans.
🚌 VAN LIFE 🚌 Rob Novotny started "Glampervan" as a way to upgrade old-style campers. But he's increasingly getting calls from people not looking for a place to camp, but a place to live.— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) August 10, 2019
He showed us inside (and on top!) today. More coming up on @abc7newsbayarea pic.twitter.com/Yu48FHIzIG
"Glampervans," which range from $50,000-$90,0000, can be outfitted with queen-sized beds, a dining table, a kitchen with a sink and refrigerator, cabinet space and even a portable toilet.
"You just take this to your nearest Starbucks or behind a tree and pour it out," Novotny said about the waste tank while showing ABC 7 how the toilet works.
Glampervan employee Sam Ausden, who lives in his van has a stove, fireplace, and shower.
"It's been really easy and just allowed me to now establish myself in the Bay Area here without the exorbitant rent prices, but still having my own space to call my own," Ausden said.
He also said he'd cut his commute time from several hours to a matter of seconds.
"I used to commute two hours a day to work, now I'm five feet to the front door of my office here," he said.
During a Glampervan expo on Saturday, millennial Damien Rasmussen said he's seriously considering making the transition from his apartment into a van in the Bay Area.
"I don't mean to sound harsh but this is the reality here in San Francisco," he said. "I mean, you've been around and see all the people living in their cars and trailers. This at least is making an effort to have something cleaner."
The only concern Rasmussen has is going from 450 sq feet to 80 sq feet, and also the parking.
"Where do you call your home base?" he asked. "If you cut your ties completely with your apartment, then you can't get a parking permit, so those are the trade-offs."
San Francisco officials counted nearly 1,800 people living in their vehicles in 2019, a 45% jump from 2017.
Across the bay in Alameda County, home of Oakland, 2,817 individuals were living out of vehicles, a figure that has more than doubled since 2017.
About 400 miles south in Los Angeles, about 10,000 vehicles are currently acting as shelter for 16,525 people this year.
Oakland has been the first to build a safe parking site and working to develop its second. These sites will have security, bathrooms, showers, and social services.
Overall, the total number of homeless counted in San Francisco in January 2019 was nearly 10,000 - the hidden homeless crisis continues to expand if that is on the street, or in vehicles.