Applications for Next Spring’s 2023 Build Outs
Available in February or March

Bring Your Own Vehicle (BYOV)

A Build Event by
Homes On Wheels Alliance (HOWA)

in Pahrump, Nevada

Sponsored by Lectric eBikes

Who Should Apply?

  • Those who boondock (camp off-grid with no water, sewer, electricity, or trash)
    • Current nomads who boondock, or
    • Those entering the nomadic life who have boondocked a lot in the past.
    • Note: At future BYOVs, HOWA will begin serving new Nomads by adding a Mentoring Program.
  • Those whose vehicles also need improvements to their living space.
  • Those same people are also unable to afford the materials, and unable to afford the labor to make improvements such as —
    • Solar Power — 100w or 200w
    • Vent or Fan — in ceiling/roof
    • Insulation — walls, doors, ceiling
    • Floor Deck — plywood with sheet vinyl
    • Platform Bed — plywood
    • Shelving — plywood
    • Window Reflectix — for privacy and heat reflection

If you meet all of these qualifications, HOWA wants you to apply to improve your vehicle this Spring!

VIDEOS to see what the BYOVs and Vehicle Grants are like.
Click the photo to bring up related playlists —


How It Works:  The BYOV Event is held on private land in Pahrump, NV.  Many Recipients and Volunteers disperse camp (boondock) together on BLM land east of town.  While a Recipient’s vehicle is under construction, the Recipient may borrow a tent at the camp.  A volunteer can be scheduled for an hour or two to help empty the Recipient’s vehicle for their Build Project.

The application for the BYOVs is fully online.  Applicants use a computer or smart phone to fill out the application and to upload images/photos.  The application requests contact information and asks some qualifying questions.  Applicants upload current photos of their vehicle.  In addition, applicants upload images of documents for identification, vehicle ownership, and finances.  Since this is a need-based grant program, HOWA also requests applicants’ monthly income, payments/debts, and other assets.

Click here to read the preparation details of the Application.

To confirm that you are driving legally, own your vehicle, and for identification, be prepared to attach electronic images or pictures of:

  • Driver’s License
  • Registration
  • Title (if not with a lien holder, lender)


For the Review Committee and Build Teams to review your vehicle’s readiness, be prepared to attach current pictures of your vehicle:

  • 3 interior pictures from different perspectives, including 1 of the ceiling if requesting a vent or fan
  • 1-2 exterior roof pictures from different perspectives, if requesting roof-mounted solar panel (4’x5′), a fan (20″x18″), or a vent (16″x16″)


For health and safety, be prepared to electronically attach a doctors note if you have or may have a contagious condition (skin, respiratory, viral, bacterial, etc.):

  • Attach a note from your doctor (on letterhead) with their signed approval of your participation to work on Build Project(s) with others inside of your vehicle. Your doctor should include any instructions to protect you and other workers who will be in close proximity to one another.


In accordance with HOWA’s Mission, BYOV Build Projects are assigned to Recipients in the greatest financial need.  The following documentation and information is necessary, therefore, for the Committee’s review and selection process.

Be prepared to upload financial documents and/or Letters of Recommendation.

Note: Upload all pages of each document.  That is, a single page of a multi-page document is not sufficient.

  • Latest Statements from all of your Financial Institutions
  • Latest IRS 1040 Tax Form OR
  • If You Did Not File 2021 Federal Taxes, then upload electronic images of 2 Letters of Recommendation
    • Example of effective letters include:, length of time  and how you know applicant, examples of your personal knowledge of their financial need.
  • Your Benefit Form from Social Security, SSD, or SSI.

If you have a condition that appears to be contagious, be prepared to upload an image of a note from your doctor’s note.

Be prepared with the following financial information:

  • AVERAGE MONTHLY INCOME from every source (paid work, Social Security, pension, retirement disbursements, etc.).
  • ALL DEBT & MONTHLY PAYMENTS (loans, credit card, mortgage, etc.).
  • ALL ASSETS (savings, real estate, vehicle(s), annuities, etc.).

Applications must be electronically submitted by 5pm PST on Monday, February 20.

For more details about the BYOV, continue reading.  Otherwise …

APPLICATION to be a RECIPIENT at the Apr 23 BYOV Event available in Feb or Mar

HOWA strives to facilitate efficient Build Events in alignment with our Mission to serve those most in need, grounded in a community of care and compassion. Build Event Recipients have overwhelmingly demonstrated honest, responsive, and kind behaviors. However, a Recipient will be dismissed from participation or planned participation in a Build Event if the Recipient engages in certain problematic behaviors. Click here to see GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL policy which outlines the conditions for such dismissals.

Grounds for Dismissal

If HOWA management determines a Recipient has demonstrated any of the below behaviors, that Recipient will be immediately dismissed from that Build Event or from participating in a planned Build Event:

  1. Recipient violates or undermines the mission of HOWA;
  2. Recipient is found to have provided false, misleading, or incomplete information to HOWA that HOWA relied on in selecting the Recipient for a Build Grant;
  3. Recipient disrupts the activities of the Build Event; or
  4. Recipient places other Build Event Participants at risk.



Examples of grounds for dismissal, include but are not limited to:

  • Recipient’s vehicle not sufficiently emptied in time for either their Planning Session or their Build Slot(s).
  • Recipient is unresponsive to communications.
  • Recipient does not accurately disclose financial and other resources available to Recipient.
  • Recipient does not show up at scheduled appointment time or is significantly late.
  • Recipient’s pet is aggressive toward people or other animals, on leash or off leash.
  • Recipient has a contagious condition that puts others at risk.
  • Recipient participates in sexual or physical harassment in their jokes, words, or actions.
  • Recipient violates the stated rules or boundaries of the Build Event.


After Dismissal

If at the time of dismissal, the Recipient was already granted a full or partial installation at that Build Event, then the Recipient must remove and return all previously granted supplies and materials within one week of dismissal. The supplies and materials must be returned in good condition at a mutually agreed upon time at the Build Event location.

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BYOV acronym:

Bring Your Own Vehicle


Cheryl: Spring 2022 Recipient.

A person who applied, was interviewed, then selected to receive one or more Build Projects for their home on wheels.  Recipients are unable to afford the improvements themselves, neither the labor nor the materials.  Recipients remain in Pahrump for the full month of the Build.  Recipients are the reason for the BYOV and all the volunteers who gather to make it happen.


Volunteers at HOWA first Build, Summer 2019.

A person who gives from the heart for the benefit of Recipients to improve their quality of life.  Most volunteers work for one week at a time during the BYOV.  Volunteers in leadership positions work before, during, and after the month-long BYOV Build Event.  Care and compassion are hallmarks of the HOWA community’s volunteers.  Other than small tokens of gratitude, they receive no compensation.

Build Project:

Recipient Elizabeth installing her 12v Fan at the Spring 2022 BYOV.

A well-defined improvement to a Recipient’s living space, selected from a list of options.  Recipients may apply for and receive more than one Build Project.  Here are the descriptions of Build Project options:

  • 100w Solar Power System:  A portable power station and a 100W suitcase panel.  (.5 Build Slot)
  • 200w Solar Power System with a PORTABLE SUITCASE panel:  Components installed inside the vehicle include a 100ah battery, charge controller, inverter, and 12v fuse block.  The solar panel is stored inside, then set out during the day on 20’ wires. (1 Build Slot)
  • 200w Solar Power System with a ROOF-MOUNTED panel:  Components installed inside the vehicle include a 100ah battery, charge controller, inverter, 12v fuse block.  Two 100W solar panels and gland box to cover the hole to bring the wires inside to the charge controller.  Required space on the roof is 4’x5’.  (2 Build Slots)
  • Insulation for Walls and Doors:  EPS or Polyiso insulation, covered with a panel (white, plastic/fiberglass).  (3 Build Slots for most vehicles)
  • Insulation for Ceiling:  EPS or Polyiso insulation, covered with a panel (white, plastic/fiberglass). (1 Build Slot)
  • Ceiling Vent:  A framed-out and screened hole in the ceiling, allowing for air flow.  The vent has a cover to adjust up or down. Requires a 16″x16″ space on ceiling and roof.  (1 Build Slot)
  • 12v Ceiling Fan:  A framed-out and screened hole in the ceiling with a 12v fan, allowing for air flow.  The vent has a cover to adjust up or down.  The Recipient must have an open slot on their 12v fuse block to run a wire to the fan. Requires an 18″x20″ space on ceiling and roof, with 18″ to the front/back. (1 Build Slot)
  • Floor:  Single level plywood deck covered in sheet vinyl.  Edges at doors are trimmed out.  (1 Build Slot)
  • Bed:  Plywood (unfinished) platform bed on lumber legs.  (1 Build Slot)
  • Shelves:  Plywood (unfinished) shelves with lip on lumber legs.  (1 Build Slot)
  • Reflectix Window Covering:  Reflectix cut to pressure fit windows for heat reflection and privacy.  (.5 Build Slot)

Build Slot:

Installing a floor is an example of a Build Project taking one Build Slot.

Typically covers 3 days.

  1. The afternoon of Day 1 is for signing off on the Scope of Work and making the plan to complete the Build Project.
  2. From 8am-5pm on Day 2 is dedicated to complete the Build Project.
  3. The morning of Day 3 is to finalize any loose ends and sign-off on completion.

Most Build Projects take one Build Slot.  A few Build Projects take more time, and a few take less.

Build Team:

Elizabeth and her Build Team Volunteers. Spring 2022 BYOV Open House.

Two skilled Volunteers and the Recipient.  To the best of their abilities, the Recipient is active in their own Build Project(s).  All three members of the Build Team are safety conscious, including wearing close-toed shoes and eye projection.

Scope of Work:

A plywood bed with 2″x4″ lumber legs is an example of a well-defined Scope of Work.

One well-defined Build Project in the Recipient’s Vehicle.

Scope Creep:


Going beyond the well-defined and signed-off Build Project.  Adding more materials or functionality than agreed to at sign-off.  Scope Creep is not permitted.  Recipients are not to ask, pressure, or hint to their Volunteer Build Team to add anything more to their Build Project.

BYOV Camp:

A common scene when Nomads camp together. (Fall 2021, Pahrump, NV)

Recreational camping on BLM land with other Recipients and Volunteers.  No work will be done on vehicles at camp.  No activities organized by HOWA.  This is a place to casually camp and enjoy community after a busy day.  Pets are on leash.  Avoid driving through washes or over any plants.  A suggested location will be provided. Extra large or long RVs or trailers may not fit or be able to safely access the camp.

Build Site:

Work at the BYOV Build Site, Spring 2022.

Is on private property in Pahrump.  Much appreciation for our Hosts at Mail, Messages and More.  The Build Site will be approximately a half-hour drive from the BYOV Camp.  While your vehicle is under construction at the Build Site, use the provided Port-a-Potty at the Build Site.  Bring your water.  Bring your lunch.  Do NOT bring your pets.  If desired, and your pet is behaved, then a volunteer will pet-sit for you at the BYOV Camp.  The Build Site is a construction zone; so, no visitors.

Safety and First Aid:

Rachele: First Aid Volunteer at the 2022 RTR. She also served at the Spring 22 BYOV.


Safety is a very important focus at the BYOV.  All Participants are part of the “Be Safe” solution:  Stay aware.  Be proactive.  Act and respond immediately when directed to remove or react to a safety hazard.  Wear close-toed shoes and eye protection.  To prevent COVID transmission, HOWA recommends that participants follow current CDC Guidelines.  If an accident occurs, trained and qualified first aid volunteers are at the Build Site.

BYOV Leadership Team:

Bobbi, your BYOV Manager.

  • Bobbi, staff BYOV Manager
  • Marieke, staff BYOV Data & Online Communications Support
  • Lisa, staff BYOV On-Site Volunteer Support, Logo Designer
  • Ronda, volunteer BYOV Assistant
  • Glen, volunteer Build Supervisor
  • Two volunteer Assistant Build Supervisors
  • Todd, volunteer Inventory Support

Support the BYOV:

Volunteer:  Sign-ups, if available, will be on this page.

Charity Wishlist on Amazon:  Purchase an item (or more) for Recipients’ Builds.  Check here for link when available.

Cash Gifts:  Specifically for the HOWA Build Program HERE.

Desert Clean-Up

Part of the clean-up crew from April 2022.

Check back for dates, times and locations for the desert clean-ups during the Build event.

Future of HOWA's Build Program to Grant Vehicles:

Ditzy, the Volunteer Mentor with Recipient Barbara, standing in front of Barbara’s newly granted minivan. The Astro MiniVan was generously donated, as was the Fiberine hightop. Fall 2021

As a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit, 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. By the end of 2021 we were spending $7000+ for comparable minivans, if we could even find any at all, in today’s used-car market.

So, HOWA’s Board of Trustees took a hard look to figure out if HOWA can use our limited funds more effectively in order to serve more nomads in need. And, the answer is “Yes, we can!” HOWA made those changes for our first Bring Your Own Vehicle Build Program in Spring 2022, doubling the number of Build Program Recipients for a single Build Event.

Be assured, HOWA will continue providing Vehicle Grants as vehicles in good condition are donated. We want to continue to provide vehicles as homes on wheels for those on the edge of homelessness. We are not abandoning Vehicle Grants, rather we are adding to our Build Program in order to serve many more nomads in need.

HOWA’s Build Program currently has a few parts and sub-parts:

  • BYOV (Bring Your Own Vehicle)
  • Vehicle Grants of Donated Vehicles
    • If an RV, then HOWA assures good condition and grants as is.
    • If a van or minivan, then HOWA assures good condition and
      • HOWA Volunteers and Recipient do a Build on the vehicle, OR
      • One Mentor Volunteer with the Recipient does a No-Build Build on the vehicle
    • For two weeks, a Volunteer Mentor helps the Recipient who is typically just moving off of the edge of homelessness.


A caring and compassionate community are hallmarks of HOWA.  All are welcome to be part of us, all — ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, religious affiliations, political persuasions, physical abilities, etc.  Diversity makes us stronger.  In HOWA, we focus on what brings us together — our humanity, appreciation of differences, love of nature, exploration, helping each other, the nomadic life.  In contrast, we avoid divisive topics, words, pictures, and symbols of religion, politics, and any other current hot-button topic.  Together we are changing lives, building community, and ending homelessness one person at a time.

HOWA’s Trustees and Staff:

Trustees:  Bob Wells, President; Suanne Carlson, Vice-President; Karen Battaglia, Secretary; Brian Gifford, Treasurer; Arlo Kipper, Governance; Bob Kent; Sarah Kuiken; John Nolan; JP Smith; and Jaime Restorff.

Staff:  Suanne Carlson, Executive Director; Phyllis Bickford, Assistant Director; Jessica Harper, Administrative Assistant; Bobbi Stice, Client Services Manager; Tracey Power, Emergency Fund Coordinator; Lisa Bee, Virtual Caravan Coordinator; Marieke McArthur, Technology Coordinator

Sponsors and Supporters of this BYOV Build Event

Beautiful Desert of Pahrump, NV

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