More Americans are Ditching Houses to Save Money by Living in Vans

In Santa Monica, Zander Kingsley, owner and founder of Kowasa Clothing Co., is living in a school bus that he's fixing up.
In Santa Monica, Zander Kingsley, owner and founder of Kowasa Clothing Co., is living in a school bus that he’s fixing up.

Imagine paying $120 to live in a studio in Los Angeles, California, where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $2,300.

Sounds nice, huh?

Stephen Hutchins, 22, a freelance animation artist and rapper by the name of Lateral , does just that, except he doesn’t live in an apartment — or a studio, really. He lives in a van.

He’s not alone. Last year, 4,600 cars and RVs were used as homes, according to The Los Angeles Times.

L.A., like many cities, has a housing shortage. This, coupled with a 3.1 percent vacancy rate, makes affordable living in L.A. an oxymoron.

“The main expenses are insurance for the van, which is like $60 a month,” said Hutchins. “Then, I have a storage unit for like $60.”

That puts his monthly rent at $120. The van cost him just $125 at an auction.

Hutchins works part-time at a Taco Bell to help pay the bills, and he says living in a van has slashed his cost of living by $800 a month.

He showers at the gym, cooks on a portable stove on a sidewalk (he stores his butane at his friends’ place nearby) and uses wifi at nearby coffeeshops.

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SOURCE: Fernando Hurtado 
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