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Emergency Fund

You Are Amazing!

HOWA’s Emergency Fund recently hit a milestone with $50,000 awarded to over 140 nomads in need! This was only possible because of you. Donating to this very important program helps keep nomads in their homes on wheels by providing awards that cover everything from gas money to get to a job location or the installation of a rebuilt transmission. We also provide high quality tents for nomads who have small vehicles and require more living space.

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.

Below are a few notes of appreciation from nomads who have been helped through the Emergency Fund.

“...I came across one of Bob’s videos and was sucked into days of watching. I told my husband we could do this. He thought I was crazy, but eventually agreed. We made the decision to use the last of our money to purchase a van and make it our home on wheels.
We found a work camper job and headed out with only a little money in our pockets. Unaware that our van would need repairs. A short time after we arrived at our job the van broke. We were at a loss. What were we going to do? Where would we live? We were stranded. We did not have any money. I remembered Bob mentioned the emergency fund in one of his videos. I was scared to apply at first because Bob always said have repair money! In our case this was not possible. I eventually got the nerve to apply and after some emails and prayers HOWA paid for our van to be repaired. We were able to make it to a better paying workcamper job and save enough to go visit my Mom and daughter before heading to our next job…” “Carol”

“Thank you Bobbi! And please thank the committee! This is so incredibly helpful:raised_hands::smile: You guys are amazing, truly and I cannot thank you enough!”  Heather

“…I also want to ask if you would, wherever/whomever the funds came from, to Please give them (and yourself for all your patience and help), a HUGE and very sincere, Thank you and God Bless You all. I will use this wisely and carefully, and truly appreciate it. There is no way I won’t be at the October gathering, assisting however I can.” Brenda

Thank you to all who donate. You have made the lives of nomad in need better in so many ways! To donate to the Emergency Fund please click HERE.

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A New Home for Bunny and her Cats

All photos by Bunny La Grand

When Bunny La Grand could no longer afford the rental she had in Portland, Oregon, she moved herself and her three cats into a 4-person tent and hit the road in her minivan, despite the challenges. She has arthritis and needs both knees replaced, which can make setting up and tearing down a tent difficult. But the pandemic hit Bunny hard, and without savings, she knew she needed to reduce her cost of living.

Unfortunately, her original tent wasn’t well-suited to be a full-time home. Her minivan stores her belongings and her livelihood—clothing she sells online and at flea markets—so a tent represents home to Bunny and her cats: privacy, warmth, and safety. Unfortunately, her original tent wasn’t durable enough to handle Quartzsite’s desert winds and sustained damage in a windstorm. She was also afraid to use her propane heater, even when the temperature dipped into the 40s overnight, because the roof was too low. 

So when Bunny heard from a fellow nomad that HOWA provides loaner tents, she was filled with hope. “Having a good tent is crucial to my and my cats’ well-being,” she wrote. “We need a good tent to protect us from the elements, and also wildlife.”

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HOWA provided Bunny with a used 8-person tent donated by one of our generous supporters, and Bunny felt the difference right away. “It is such an upgrade and a blessing for me and my three cats,” she told us. “It’s like a small studio! My heart is bursting with gratitude that someone cared enough to donate this tent and that HOWA was able to assist us.”

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Then, the zipper on the donated tent broke, allowing one of her cats to escape into the desert night. She used safety pins and duct tape as a temporary means of sealing the door—and a laser pointer to reclaim her escaped kitty. For a second time, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to send Bunny a new tent with a working zipper. She now has a fully functional 4-person tent, and has passed the original donation along to another houseless friend in need. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is blgc-768x1024.jpg

Bunny’s ceaseless optimism and gratitude in the face of challenge remind us that there is beauty even in the challenging moments of our lives. When high winds kicked up and threatened to tear the walls of her new home, Bunny wrote, “There was a beautiful full moon.”

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A sincere and heartfelt thanks to the generous supporters who make stories like Bunny’s possible. If you have the means to help nomads in need, please consider donating here

Post written by Sarah Kuiken

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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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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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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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