775-764-8115
HomesOnWheelsAlliance@gmail.com

Items Needed for a Minivan Home

Minivans are a good choice for full-time living or weekend getaways. They are one of the most economical cars to buy, get good gas mileage, are easy to park and drive, have some degree of stealth for staying in populated areas, and once the seats are removed they are roomy enough to make a comfortable living space.

 A simple build requires few skills and can be accomplished easily and quickly. Consider removing the passenger seat or turning it around to face the living area if more room is needed once the rear seats are removed. Start with the basic necessities of bedding, food, water, and cooking equipment. Storage units keep supplies and clothing organized. A source of power will be needed for charging cell phones and other devices. Depending on the climate a small heater or fan could be a necessity.  Many of the things you already own may be perfect for a build so sort through your possessions before buying anything new. Keep everything simple. An overcrowded home will not be comfortable on rainy and cold days when you’ll be spending time inside.

The Homes on Wheels team has compiled a list that they consult when outfitting a simple minivan build for a new recipient. All of these items are not used in every minivan home but the list is a good starting point for anyone considering making their own minivan home. The list is now available to everyone! Click HERE to see it.

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Part 3 – Journey of an Astro Van

It’s finally time for the Astro van to become a Home on Wheels for a deserving recipient! Barbara has been couch surfing in the homes of friends and family for several months. During this time she was making preparations to move into her car but it would have been a difficult life because she has significant back problems. As a long-time fan of Bob’s videos she was aware of the minivan award program but was surprised and honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Astro van. Barabara is excited to start her new life in the Astro which will be a more comfortable than living in her car because she will be able to stand up with room to spare.

None of this would have been possible without the generous donations from the nomadic community, the donation of the Astro van and tires by Richard and Amy, the repairs by Silver Star Auto, and the donation and installation of the hightop by Fiberene.  To make life even more comfortable and convenient GoSun donated a GoSun Kitchen which includes an oven, cooler, solar panels, and components.

A big thank you to all of the donors and the volunteers! To donate go HERE. To apply for a minivan go HERE.

Hard at work – Barbara with handyman volunteer, Duanne, and volunteer mentor, Ditzy

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Part 2 – Journey of an Astro Van

The Astro gets a hightop!

After a thorough inspection by Silver Star Auto, the Astro van, rolling smoothly on new tires, was ready for the next step – the installation of a hightop by Fiberene! Once again the donors, Richard and Amy, graciously offered to deliver the van and pick it up when the job was finished.

Fiberene generously donated the hightop and the labor which was completed by Gonzalo Rico. Installing a hightop is an exacting process that involves cutting and removing the roof of the van, and properly sealing between the van roof and the hightop to prevent leaks.

On the drive back to their house Richard and Amy discovered that the repairs on the air conditioner done by Silver Star Auto had not solved the problem. Back at the shop, Silver Star Auto diagnosed a bad compressor which would cost $1,300 to replace. Neither Richard and Amy or HOWA could afford to pay that much. Not to be deterred, Richard contacted Anderson Auto Group, the owner of Silver Star Auto, and explained the situation.  Anderson offered to do the work free of charge!

Fixed and ready to be delivered to HOWA at Pahrump, Nevada!

Thanks you Richard and Amy, Gonzalo Rico of Fiberene, Chance Corbitt General Manger of Silver Star Auto, and Anderson Auto Group for your generosity!

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Part 1 – Journey of an Astro Van

A wonderful donation has come to Homes on Wheels Alliance in the form of a 1999 Chevy Astro van! Astro vans are very reliable mechanically, have good ground clearance, and a surprising amount of interior space for a vehicle that’s under 16 feet in total length.

The Astro was donated by Richard and Amy after Amy purchased another vehicle and no longer needed the van. But they didn’t stop at donating the van. They took the van to Silver Star Auto for a pre-purchase mechanical inspection and also had the air conditioning repaired. Next, they bought new tires! Richard and Amy have really gone above and beyond to make sure that their donation is in good working condition for a deserving recipient.

Applications for the Astro, which will be awarded in September 2021, can be found HERE. All applications are carefully reviewed by the HOWA staff. The chosen recipient will spend two weeks in Pahrump, Nevada camping with the HOWA staff and an experienced nomad volunteer mentor. We are excited about awarding this van to a nomad!

Watch for Part 2 – The Astro Gets a Hightop!

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Help For Nomads

All of the staff and volunteers on the HOWA Emergency Fund team have one goal in mind – to provide whatever help nomads need to stay in their homes on wheels. Often that comes in the form of funds to pay for unexpected repairs. Without the repairs, the nomad may be left with no choice but to move into a homeless shelter or, in the best cases, with friends or family. Fortunately, with the generous donations HOWA receives, many nomads are able to continue living in their newly-repaired vehicles. It’s always gratifying for the team when they are able to help someone and especially touching when a nomad writes a heartfelt thank you note.

“I wanted to say thank you for help. With out HOWA I would most likely lost my car this week. I asked for help less than a week ago and its done. I am amazed. The whole process was simple I am very happy to be back to my travels. Bobbie you rock!

If you are a Nomad with an emergency need, HOWA may be able to help you. Apply HERE.

Or Click Here to Donate to Emergency Fund

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Thanks for Donating to the Efund!

Bobbie Stice joined the HOWA team as the Emergency Fund Coordinator in December 2020 and has been doing an excellent job evaluating efund applications and recommending other options if the needs are outside the scope of HOWA’s efund program.

Since its inception in August 2019, the efund has distributed more than $26,000 and helped over 80 nomads! An anonymous donation launched the fund but all of you who continue to donate allows HOWA to keep helping nomads. We thank you!

Emergency fund recipients are vetted and donors can be assured that the fund is used to help nomads in emergency situations. Ninety percent of Emergency Fund contributions directly assist those in need within the mobile community. Ten percent goes toward operating expenses to run the Emergency Fund Program.

The following is an excerpt of a thank you letter from a recipient who was helped in a minor but important way:

“This past couple of years have been extremely hard for me…I was working two jobs and trying to keep the house payments up when covid hit and I lost both jobs. At that point I knew I had to come up with another plan…I considered just living in the car but I have 2 cats…I was able to sell enough furniture and other things to get the van…make it livable…I ended up in St. George…I was very cold… My job provided a way to have food and the things the cats needed but not much more since they only pay me 8.20 an hour and I only can work part time. I ended up hearing about the Homes On Wheels Alliance..The people who contacted me were very kind and helped me through the process. I was approved…so grateful to be able to get some ways to be warmer. Since I came from Florida I didn’t have a coat or gloves. I was able to go to a thrift store…I know my situation will keep improving…thank goodness for the videos and all they do to give me ideas…I will always be grateful for the help from HOWA to be able to keep myself and my cats warm this winter”

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