We’re glad you found the Homes On Wheels Alliance (HOWA) website. HOWA is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to helping people get into safe and secure homes on wheels. Our programs include the Emergency Fund, Build Outs and We Care. We also bring the nomadic community together for Caravan Camps, Virtual Caravans, and the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR). Check out the blog to sample what we are about. Consider volunteering and donating. This is a wonderful community!
Click on Questions
For Bob’s Answers about HOWA’s Work
Who are you trying to help?
We’re trying to prevent many Seniors, the working poor, and people with disabilities from falling into being truly homeless and living on the streets. Our mission is to help them to live rent-free by providing them with vehicles in which to live. For whatever reason, America has evolved to become a low wage nation with very high costs of home rent or ownership. For many of us, that means we can no longer afford to live and pay for a roof over our head at the same time. Being forced to decide if I will eat or pay the rent or electric bill is a common experience in today’s America. That horrible choice is especially true for seniors who are on a low fixed income from Social Security. We believe we have a solution for them!
Aren't you ashamed of putting people into tents, vans and RVs? Don't they deserve better?
When I first started living in a van, I was very ashamed of the depths to which I had fallen. I was stilling working my same job, paying taxes, and supporting my family, but I felt like a total failure. As time went on, my feelings changed 180 degrees, and I fell in love with the freedom, simplicity, frugality, independence, and earth-friendliness of the nomadic way of life. For the last 14 years, I have devoted myself to spreading the knowledge about it and have led many thousands of people to join me—to the point where it has become a common thing among many age groups. Rarely have I ever seen a person regret the decision to live nomadically on wheels. Literally, thousands of people have come up to me and shook my hand or hugged me and thanked me for leading them into the best times of their lives. I’m still waiting for the first person to punch me in the nose and tell me I ruined his or her life—fortunately it has not happened!
How will you know if they deserve your help?
If we could, we’d help everyone, but we know that isn’t practical, so we must focus on those who need it most. To accomplish that, we’ve created an Application for Assistance form that all of our clients are required to fill out. It’s designed to learn everything we can about a person’s financial situation and even help them with future budgeting. Using that form, we’ll direct our aid to those most in need and most likely to become a long-term success story.
Shouldn't you be giving people a hand up, not a hand out?
That’s exactly what we intend to do. Whenever we assist someone we’ll also require them to start making income-based payments into an escrow account we’ve set up to hold that money for them. When we loan someone a tent, their payments will grow in escrow and when there’s enough money they can use it to upgrade into a van—at which time they’ll return the tent, and we’ll pass it on to someone else. When we donate a van or RV, we’ll hold the escrow payment for them as an emergency fund and savings account. Our clients will be learning how to write and keep a budget, and also save for their future–all while gaining their independence. We also expect everyone to give back through one of the volunteer programs we’ve set up—if nothing else, they can become mentors to new people coming into the program.
Aren't you afraid some people will rip you off?
No, we’re fairly confident our application process will weed those people out. But, even if it occasionally fails, we would rather be ripped off on a rare occasion than fail to help someone who genuinely needs it. When we donate a van or RV to someone, we will place a lien on the title until they have made payment into the escrow account to cover the replacement value of the van. If they fail to make the payments, we’ll repossess the vehicle.
What about when they have problems with the vehicle later on?
One of the main reasons they are required to pay into the escrow account is to create an emergency fund … that will give them a secure future, knowing they can survive problems like breakdowns.
Won't they be lonely?
We’ve found a solution for that by creating our Caravans Program. Our Caravans are small groups of people that travel around the country together, camping for free on National Forest land in the summer, and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Land in the winter. The caravans give each new person coming into the program a place to go and learn about this new way of life in a secure place and also a chance to make new friends and build community. It’s very important that people know they aren’t alone and that they are part of a caring community. The Caravan Program has far exceeded our expectations, and people are making deep, life-long friendships that are truly life-changing.
Homes On Wheels Alliance, Inc. (HOWA), a charitable 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, strives to help a significant portion of the American population who are being squeezed between the rapidly rising cost of shelter on one hand, and either stagnant wages or too-small of a retirement on the other. Through no fault of their own, they are at serious risk of losing their homes and apartments. We serve this community by providing:
- Safe and secure homes on wheels,
- Improvements and repairs to their mobile dwellings,
- Transition assistance into a financially- and environmentally-sustainable lifestyle, and
- Opportunities to connect with and give back to the nomadic tribe, area communities, and public lands.
We believe that only an “alliance” of interested parties can hope to solve a problem of this magnitude. To be truly effective it should consist of:
- The larger mobile community,
- Government (local, state and federal),
- Private businesses and industries, and
- Various nonprofit organizations,
By combining our energy, resources and good-will into a united front, we will have a significant impact on preventing the homeless problem from reaching monumental proportions and allowing our clients to remain contributing citizens while preserving their independence, self-sufficiency and dignity. Acting together, we believe the future can be bright for all of us!
Some thoughts and musings from the Homes On Wheels Alliance Staff and Friends.
How You Can Help.
It is no secret that there is a growing proportion of the country that cannot pay rent, pay for food and medications on the money they have each month. Millions of people in this country have to decide each month if they will pay their rent or buy food or buy the medications they need because they cannot stretch their budget to pay for all of it.
Homes On Wheels, Inc. is a newly formed 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that focuses on providing safe and secure unconventional housing to those in need helping them get back on their feet.
This enormous undertaking will succeed through the efforts of volunteers and contributions from those individuals and organizations that want to change lives and make a difference. There are many ways to be part of the solution. Click on the button to donate now through PayPal.
Please click here to find other ways you can support the Homes On Wheels Alliance Programs.