775-764-8115
HomesOnWheelsAlliance@gmail.com

A Helping Hand

The Emergency Fund team reviews many requests and when it’s not possible to grant money for large repairs a compassion fund is often awarded to provide help in a smaller way. The following is a heartfelt letter of thanks from John.
“One of the big lessons I’ve learned from being nearly four years on the road is this: Even when things get lonely out there, we are never truly alone. In some mysterious way, we are all connected.

Recently, on a trip to visit family, I encountered a series of mechanical problems in my “new” old van. The repair bills ate through my savings and left me in debt. Not since my heart surgery more than four years earlier had things seemed so bleak.

Fortunately, friends and family came through for me. I now include HOWA as part of friends and family. They found a way to help me out with a small “compassionate” grant.

See? We’re never alone. We’re all in this together, and HOWA is part of that. Looking forward to seeing you all back on the road.

John

Apprentice Wise Elder”

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Four Minivans Awarded!

Due to precautions because of the coronavirus pandemic, the fall minivan build was scaled down to an un-build with a small crew of HOWA staff members and volunteers. Over a two-week period, four recipients of minivans participated in a mentoring program and also spent time arranging  donated Amazon wishlist items into their new homes. Even though minivans are small each becomes a personalized space designed around different needs and decorating styles. Tents from HOWA’s Loaner Tent program served as temporary homes for the recipients until their minivans were ready.

The recipients of the minivans were:

Barbara

Barbara had boondocked for several years in her van but was living in a tent when she applied for a minivan. She received a Honda Odyssey donated by Robin and built out by David and several friends. This minivan was purchased and finished in the eastern US and delivered to the build location by the donors. Besides being thrilled with her new home Barbara is excited about the welcoming community that she’s found with her fellow nomads.

April

April moved into her SUV in June 2020 when rental payments left her with little money for other expenses. During the hot summer days in Missouri, she visited a women’s shelter to take showers and enjoy the air conditioning, but she still preferred the privacy of her own space in the SUV at night. When April was approved for a minivan, she headed to Pahrump, Nevada with barely enough money for gas and some apprehension that the transmission in her SUV could survive the trip. She arrived safely and donated her SUV to HOWA through the CARS program which sells vehicles for charities and returns 70% of the selling price to the donor’s chosen charity. Thank you, April, for the first CARS donation for HOWA!

Cindy

Cindy and her two cats, Bella and Kenze made a home in her Saturn after her roommate died following a long illness.  The car was clearly too small for all three of them and the extra supplies needed for the cats so getting accepted to be a minivan recipient was a godsend. The extra room has allowed Cindy to organize her new home so that everything has a place and is easy to find.

Christy

Christy has been a nomad for two years and lived in her car in Utah for about a year previous to that. She volunteered with HOWA as a caravan host and organizer for the RTR and WRTR. When her 2007 Toyota Sienna needed expensive repairs she was encouraged to apply for a minivan. Since Christy is an experienced nomad many of the components in her Sienna such as the solar system could be transferred to her new minivan home which is also a Sienna.

Thank you all who donated to the minivan fund and the Amazon Wishlist plus a special thank you to the donors of Barbara’s minivan.   Thanks to all the volunteers who helped at the un-build especially the mentors, Ditzy and Lesa, and the construction workers, Duane and Bob.

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Lives Improved with Solar Donations

HOWA receives many offers from people who wish to donate lightly used equipment. All offers are appreciated but because HOWA staff members are nomads with little room for storage, most offers must be turned down. However, during the spring and fall build outs when a short term storage unit is rented HOWA gladly accepts donations. Such was the case in May 2020 when donors supplied the materials for three complete solar systems.

Vivian and Diane who were in need of more power applied for the solar systems and were provided with 245 W panels from Santan Solar and  charge controllers and other components from  Renogy.  Four almost-new 6V batteries were supplied by an anonymous donor. Friends and family helped the women install the systems in their nomadic homes.

Another anonymous donor supplied a used Kodiak solar generator with a 100W panel which was given to Sara to provide power to her SUV and trailer.

Thank you to all who donated materials and time!  To donate click here.

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Fifty Nomads Helped

Since the creation of the Emergency Fund in August 2019, HOWA has distributed over $13,000 to more than 50 nomads. Emergency awards covered everything from money to buy a warm winter coat to funds for major mechanical repairs. Laurie expressed her appreciation in an email to the Emergency Fund staff.

 “Homes on Wheels Alliance helped me tremendously when I had an emergency 1000 miles away from my regular home on wheels region of the country. 
As a full time nomad, with post 911 medical lung complication, I had driven a thousand miles away quickly to flee the California wildfire smoke & fires in early fall 2020. 
This unexpected two thousand mile round trip fuel cost left me in a serious bind since I have a small fixed income that covers only basic necessities. The good news is that my asthma attacks stopped when I got away from the thick smoke though I tended up stuck in a place with none of my regular resources or familiarity because I ran out of fuel. 
In addition I needed to receive specialized medical help & continuity of care that included an asthmatic equipment pick up back at my regular mail center. 
The process for applying to the fund was streamlined, professional and kind. I was able to upload various verifications and await positive news that I had been awarded a small grant that because of online delivery method – I was able to access immediately.
Larger than life this support was to me because I was going be able to get out of the Western slope of the Rockies before the next round of cold and snow came for which me nor my van was prepared for.

I will never forget how this non profit organization came through for me in one of my biggest times of need – the CA wildfires. 
I will spread the word to people who need a wonderful place to donate in order to keep this emergency fun running. This is the real deal! 
Thank you HOWA💗
Laurie P. 

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Two Lectric eBikes Donated

After the April Build Out was canceled due to COVID-19, HOWA found other ways to help the community that didn’t require bringing large groups of volunteers together.  HOWA announced applications for two ebikes to be awarded in May 2020. These bikes were test ridden by people who attended the 2020 RTR and then donated to HOWA by Lectric eBike.

Harley was one of the recipients of an eBike based on his need for alternative transportation.  Thank you Lectric eBikes for your generous donations and for the help you provided to these nomads.

The Lectric eBike is greatly appreciated by Harley and his puppy.

“My summer has been tough, fixing a few major issues in my rig. Days are far too hot to get out with my pup, but once the sun goes down I go out for puppy time on my electric bike donated through HOWA. We stay out for 30 minutes or so and we always have at least a good race.. The pup wins no matter what, and by the time we settle in for the night, I have a very happy dog. He loves to run and this bike allows me so much pleasure to get out with him. Even if my back is acting up, because of this bike, we still get quality time outside. THANK YOU AGAIN! I love my bike and my pup does too!” Harley’s and his pup’s adventures here.

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A Minivan Home For Esther

Growing up in Alaska and camping with her parents as a very young child prepared Esther for a life of adventure. She’s camped on Kodiak Island where huge brown bears fish for salmon, lived in remote villages without running water, and spent two winter months in her car as a trial run to see if she could do it. When Esther became sick in 2017, she couldn’t continue working at her job as a caregiver and instead started training to become a computer programmer, a job that she could do remotely while on the road. The award of the minivan means Esther can live the independent life she has been dreaming about for years.

To avoid spreading COVID-19, HOWA canceled the April 2020 Build Out, however, plans were made to continue with the Minivan Home on Wheels program on a simpler scale. Outfitting the vans with pre-made furnishings allowed the builds to be finished safely by a smaller number of people. In July a 2006 Honda Odyssey was bought, outfitted, and awarded to Esther who completed a two week mentoring program to prepare her for nomadic life. Transferring the title was a challenge due to DMV coronavirus restrictions but once that was done Esther was ready to move into her new home.

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