HOWA Volunteer building shelves!  Oct 2019

Bring Your Own Vehicle (BYOV) Build
HOWA’s Newest Build Program

Are you a full-time nomad that needs construction work, a vent installed, or solar power in your rig, but you can’t afford the supplies and materials, let alone the cost of labor?  If so, HOWA’s new BYOV program is for you.  Please apply today.  The link to the application is below.

If interested in reading what HOWA is doing with the regular Minivan Grant Program, then click here (once) to find out below this line.

As a non-profit 501(c)3, HOWA is dedicated to providing safe and secure homes on wheels to those in financial need. Since the Summer of 2019, HOWA has provided vehicles, mostly minivans, to those on the edge of homelessness. But, the world has changed since we started that effort. In 2019, we spent $3000 for that first minivan, today we are spending $7000+ for comparable minivans, if we can even find any at all in today’s used-car market.

So, HOWA’s Board of Trustees has taken a hard look to figure out if HOWA can use our scarce funds more effectively in order to serve more nomads in need. And, the answer is “Yes, we can!” And we are making those changes for our Spring Build Program in Pahrump, NV.

But, before I describe that change, I want to assure you that HOWA will continue our minivan build program as minivans in good condition are gifted to us. We want to continue to provide minivans as homes on wheels to those on the edge of homelessness. We are not abandoning the Minivan Build Program, rather we are adding to it in order to serve many more nomads in need. At this time, HOWA does not have any minivans to grant. However, we now have this new build program …

The new Build Program is called “Bring Your Own Vehicle” or “BYOV” to serve nomads in need. That is, the BYOV program serves those in the mobile community who could not otherwise afford the materials for their build, let alone the labor costs. HOWA will provide both the build materials as well as arrange for labor by our wonderful, giving, skilled volunteers. (To sign-up to volunteer for carpentry or solar installations, go to HOWA’s BYOV Volunteer webpage. All other support positions have been filled.  Thank you!)

To apply for a BYOV Build, the applicant will disclose their needs and current resources through an application process. Each applicant will select their desired build project(s). If the applicant selects more than one project, then we ask for a prioritized list.  HOWA will provide as much to as many as possible, given the constraints of time, skilled volunteers, and funding.

  • Platform bed – unfinished ¾”-1″ plywood and lumber to fit inside the applicant’s vehicle
  • Shelving – unfinished plywood and lumber w/lip that fits inside the applicant’s vehicle
  • Solar power system with portable solar panels, two sizes to choose from —
    • 200W solar w/100ah battery, charge controller (w/monitor), 12v fuse block & receptacles, inverter, wiring, fuses – best for full-size vans or larger — OR
    • 100W solar w/portable power system – best for minivans or smaller
  • On an existing level base, flat ¾” plywood deck with vinyl flooring and edging at doors
  • Wall insulation (polyiso or EPS) with ¼” skin – most appropriate for full-size vans or larger
  • Ceiling insulation (polyiso or EPS) with ¼” skin – most appropriate for full-size vans or larger
  • Ceiling vent – may include fan if electrical power is available – most appropriate for full-size vans or larger

Near one of our usual camp locations on BLM land in Pahrump, NV.

HOWA’s first BYOV will take place from April 4-28 in Pahrump, NV.  We look forward to serving many more people by adding this new Build Program.  

If you are a full-time nomad in need, unable to afford even the materials to build out your vehicle, please apply.  We look forward to working on many rigs, making them safe and secure homes on wheels.

The Trustees and Staff of Homes On Wheels Alliance


Each project of a BYOV grant will take place over 3 days at the Build Site

Volunteer & Recipient planning the build.  October 2019

Day 1 in the afternoon, the Recipient will meet with their build team to —

    • Confirm that Liability and Image Releases have been signed
    • Assure that vehicle will be emptied of its contents/furnishings for Day 2 Build
    • Insure that any deconstruction/demolition, if necessary, will be completed before the build on Day 2.
    • Agree that the vehicle and recipient will begin at 8am on Day 2 at Build Site
    • Collect all tools, supplies & materials needed for this project

Day 2: Build team and Recipient will arrive, ready to work.  Schedule —

    • Safety meeting at 8am
    • Start build by 8:30am and
    • Complete project and clean up by 5pm.
    • Recipient takes possession of vehicle to go back to camp by 5pm

Day 3 in the morning, the Recipient and Build Team will do any final tweeks or training necessary; sign-off.


Expectations for Recipients

A Camp on BLM desert land east of the town of Pahrump. Fall 2021.

CAMP: In Pahrump, NV in April 2022.  Recipients will camp on BLM land with other recipients and volunteers.  No amenities are available on BLM land. Come prepared to take care of all of your needs like water, food, heat, toileting and hygiene items.  At camp and at the build location, the recipient is an active member of the team.

BUILD DAY PREP:  The recipient is responsible for making their rig “build ready” before arriving by 8am at the Build Site on their Build Day.  For inside access to do the build, remove and store items from inside the vehicle.  Volunteers will be available to assist. Be prepared to keep removed items at camp.

PETS:  If the recipient has pets, the recipient must make arrangements with a camp volunteer to keep their pets when at the Build Site.  That is, no recipients’ pets are allowed at the Build Site.

COVID:  HOWA recommends that all participants follow CDC guidelines to stay safe from COVID.

~~ Important Dates ~~

Applications OPEN Applications CLOSE Build Dates
Feb 15, 2022 Mar 15, 2022 midnight Apr 4 to Apr 29, 2022



Here are the steps for the application:

  1. Download and save the application to your device,
  2. Read over the application in order to familiarize yourself with the requirements,
  3. Gather the required documents and either scan them or take photos of each of them,
  4. Answer the questions in the application and
  5. By the deadline, email Suanne Carlson, Executive Director, at with all the required documents & photos attached.

Only complete applications emailed to will be accepted.

The emailed application and all electronic documents are due no later than midnight of the due date listed above.

Thank you.

HOWA’s Alliances for the BYOV

Looking east at Mt Charleston during sunset, BLM land in Pahrump, NV.