LOS ANGELES - More Angelenos are living in their cars than ever before and experts say in the next five to 10 years, we’re going to see an explosion of Americans living full time in their vehicles.
“Some days are good and some days are bad,” said Sharhonda Rivera.
She and her husband Anthony have been living in their RV for the last year and half.
“You feel like you failed. You feel like you've moved from where you've grown up to follow a dream or to have an adventure and have a new life and then you kind of get halted by something you would never think would happen to you,” she said.
The Riveras are employed. Anthony is a wedding photographer and Sharhonda is a driver for Postmates. But even with their combined income, it's simply not enough. They also don't have good credit. Anthony and Sharhonda say living in their RV is the best they can do.
The Riveras belong to a growing group of LA residents — more than 16,000 people who are employed but have no place to live other than their vehicles.
“We talk about these families like they’re so far removed from our own personal lives,” said Manny Flores of North Valley Caring Services, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people in need.
Flores says, “Most of us are living check to check and so when you talk about people who are struggling right now, it's easy to identify those living on the street, those who've already gone through the process of losing their place in life, but I think most of us in Los Angeles are really close to being in a bad situation.”
Flores says the way to avoid being in this situation is to be prepared for the worst. If you're employed, live below your means and save for a rainy day.
He says, “Everybody is really confident that their job is going to be there forever and that things will just work out in the end and unfortunately, that is the start of homelessness.”