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Emergency Repairs

As of December 2021 the HOWA Emergency Fund has distributed over $44,000 to 112 nomads! Thank you to all who donated and helped make this program so successful! To keep the Emergency Fund going please donate HERE.

Here is an example of how your donations help fellow nomads:

Dear HOWA core group, contributors and members.
Some of you know me, my first official year out. I started in a high milage car knowing none. I had come to see how these people live on minimal incomes. I live on $500. per month and needed to know how to make it. I quickly made friends with others once linked up with the Women’s Carovan and on to my first WRTR and RTR! What a winter! I met so many beautiful people and had fun! My health had gotten so poor so suddenly that I’d given up on life, never mind actually having fun!I’ve been coming back to life (after 2 years in bed) these last couple years. I’m getting stronger in every way! I LOVE the freedom this lifestyle has to offer! I can do as I need, when I need and take part at my pace. More and more I am increasingly healthier! I even put a little money aside and bought a van. Then, tiny step by tiny step I am building out my van. Unfortunately, I have also had a series of functional/mechanical issues I’ve had to fix recently. I’ve really hit a low and revisiting if I can make it or not and cold weather right around the corner. Then you all said you would help me with my latest mechanical issue …. the engine issue… the one that made me think I couldn’t make it! Because of your foresight and kind hearts creating such an organization and making funds available to people like me I feel like someone actually does care about me! It’s a huge boost!!!! I got the job I had wanted because I have transportation. My physical limitations are many so I hated to see this “perfect match” go away. Because of your prompt help with my transportation, I am now working and stretching my abilities even further.
Thank you for ALL you do for so many of us out here doing the best we can to rebuild our lives!!!! You provide an invaluable service that stretches far beyond money. Thank you for finding ME worthy of help!”

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We Care Pahrump, Nevada November 2021

  In January 2021 HOWA was the recipient of a $3,000 Community Grant from Walmart. Thank you Walmart! In keeping with the requirements that the grant money be distributed to nomads in need in the Pahrump area, a We Care event was held in the spring of 2021. $1000 was distributed leaving a $2000 surplus for another event in the fall of the year. Since this coincideded with the start of the fall caravans the event became mobile and event volunteers traveled to five caravan locations and distributed 52 $100 grants. In all $5,200 was distributed – the $2000 plus $3,200 from genorous donors. Thank you donors!

A few of the grateful recipients.

all photos by Bobbie Stice

A huge thank you to the HOWA stuff and volunteers, Phyllis, Grey, Christy, Lisa, Suanne, and Bobbie

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The Caravans are Back!

photo by Sarah Meg Hart

New nomads are often timid about camping alone especially if they have little experience. To fill the need for companionship and support, Bob Wells, the president of HOWA and founder of Cheap RV Living started the caravans in October 2018. Watch Bob’s Video HERE. Early in 2019 HOWA became the sponsor of the caravans. Caravans continued through 2019 and into early 2020 when the outbreak of coronavirus made in-person gatherings too risky. A wonderful solution was found by holding virtual caravans – the first on March 30, 2020. The virtual caravans have been a huge success but now that coronavirus vaccines have proven to be very effective in cutting the chances of contracting the virus, in-person caravans have started again! HOWA strongly recommends that all attendees follow the CDC guidelines to stay safe and healthy.

photo by Sarah Meg Hart

Caravans are open to everyone – new nomads, experienced nomads, full-time nomads, and part-time nomads. All types of rigs are welcome. Typically caravan groups camp on public land for 14 days, then move to camp at another place for 14 days, and so forth. Camping is free and no amenities are provided. For more information click HERE.

Due to the popularity of virtual caravans, they will continue, so if you can not go to an in-person caravan, attend a virtual caravan where you can chat and make friends with like-minded people. Click HERE.

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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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HOWA Vehicles

Vehicles of HOWA’s Build Program

Between Summer 2019 and Fall 2021, HOWA has purchased or has been gifted 16 vehicles.  Eighteen people, on the edge of homelessness, have been granted vehicles as their homes on wheels.  Each vehicle was selected to provide a safe and secure home for its new owner(s).  Some of these vehicles have had a series of events happen with them; while others simply went to their new homeowner and are completing their charge by providing dependable shelter.  Here is a listing of those granted vehicles in the order of purchase or donation.

  1. Minivan One

    Minivan One:  Funds for purchase were donated by an anonymous donor.  Awarded August 2019 to Recipient 1, then returned to HOWA in September 2021.  The nomadic life wasn’t a good fit for her.  While the minivan was being transported to Pahrump in September 2021, to be granted to another person in need, it was in an accident with a deer.  HOWA had full coverage on it with a $1000 deductible.  The minivan is totaled, the volunteer transporter was not injured.  HOWA is still waiting to hear from the insurance adjuster.  All funds received for this vehicle will go back into the Build Program.
  2. Travel Trailer:  Trailer donated by anonymous donors.  Awarded October 2019 to Recipients 2 and 3.  Remains the home on wheels for a nomad couple.
  3. Minivan Two:  Vehicle donated by an anonymous donor.  Awarded October 2019 to Recipient 4.  The Recipient fulfilled the escrow savings agreement within six months, sold the awarded minivan, and replaced it with a different vehicle in 2020.  For clarity of expectations for these grants, recipients are now required to live out of their awarded vehicles for at least 3 years before they can sell it.
  4. Cargo Trailer:  Trailer purchased with contributions from many donors.  Awarded October 2019 to Recipients 5 and 6.  Converted by volunteers into a home for mother and son.  The trailer remains their home on wheels.
  5. Minivan Three:  Vehicle purchased with contributions from many donors.  It was ready to be awarded October 2019.  Unfortunately, the selected client’s mobility was such that she couldn’t safely get in and out of the minivan.  As a result, the minivan was saved to be re-granted in Spring 2020.  Sadly, it was totaled in a roll-over accident to avoid a head-on collision in the Winter of 2020.  No fatalities.  Vehicle did not have full insurance coverage; but was sold for scrap with those funds paying for its storage fees.
  6. School Bus “Hannah”:  Donated by the family of David Ainley, HOWA Trustee, after his passing.  Converted by David.  Awarded October 2019 to Recipient 7, a retired mechanic with the skills and ability to maintain it.  It is still his home on wheels.
  7. Minivan Four:  Funds for purchase were donated by Lectrice Bikes. In July 2020, this minivan wasn’t a good fit

    Minivan Four

     for the client due to her multiple chemical sensitives (MCS).  So, instead it was awarded in August 2020 to Recipient 8.  Sadly, that recipient passed away in early 2021.  The minivan was returned and awarded again in April 2021 to Recipient 14.  It was totaled in an accident with a deer in May 2021, no injuries to the recipient.  That recipient moved into an RV. 
  8. Minivan Five:  Funds for purchase were provided by an anonymous donor.  This minivan was the previous home of a nomad with MCS.  Unfortunately, it still triggered MCS symptoms in the client, like Minivan Four.  So, instead, this minivan was awarded in October 2020 to Recipient 9; it remains her home on wheels.
  9. Truck with Cap:  Truck was purchased utilizing contributions from many donors for the client with MCS who could not use either Minivans Four or Five.  It had no carpeting and initially seemed to work for her.  But, sadly, she found that it triggered her MCS symptoms.  The truck was subsequently sold and funds from the sale reimbursed to the Build Program.  Sadly, HOWA was not able to source a vehicle, within our means, that would not trigger this client’s MCS symptoms.
  10. Minivan Six:  This vehicle was donated, built out, and transported by the Arcuses and friend.  Awarded
    October 2020 to Recipient 10.  That recipient exited the program to move into a larger van in the Summer of 2021.  The minivan was returned, inspected and readied for Recipient 17 in October 2021.

    Minivan Five

  11. Minivan Seven:  Funds for purchase were donated by Lectric eBikes.  Awarded October 2020 to Recipient 11.  It remains the recipient’s home on wheels.
  12. Minivan Eight:  Funds for purchase were contributed by an anonymous donor.  Awarded October 2020 to Recipient 12.  Remains the recipient’s home on wheels. 
  13. Minivan Nine: Funds for purchase were donated by Nomadland Productions.  Awarded April 2021 to Recipient 13.  Remains the recipient’s home on wheels.
  14. Minivan Ten:  Funds for purchased were donated by Nomadland Productions.    Awarded April 2021 to Recipient 15 and remains the recipient’s home on wheels.
  15. Minivan Eleven:  Funds for purchase were donated by an anonymous donor.  Shelving & bed platform were donated by Camp N Car.  Awarded April 2021 to Recipient 16.  Remains the recipient’s home on wheels. 
  16. Minivan Twelve:  Donated, repaired, and transported by the Brownes, with a hightop donated by Fiberine, and Solar Kitchen donated by Go Sun.  Will be awarded October 2021 to Recipient 18.

Minivan Ten

TIMELINE of Service for HOWA’s Granted Vehicles

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