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Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America’s new nomads

December 3, 2017

By Jessica Bruder : theguardian – excerpt

Rising rents are leading Americans to live in cars and other vehicles…

Millions of Americans are wrestling with the impossibility of a traditional middle-class existence. In homes across the country, kitchen tables are strewn with unpaid bills. Lights burn late into the night. The same calculations get performed again and again, through exhaustion and sometimes tears.

Wages minus grocery receipts. Minus medical bills. Minus credit card debt. Minus utility fees. Minus student loan and car payments. Minus the biggest expense of all: rent.

In the widening gap between credits and debits hangs a question: which bits of this life are you willing to give up, so you can keep on living?

During three years of research for my book, Nomadland: Surviving America in The Twenty-First Century, I spent time with hundreds of people who had arrived at the same answer. They gave up traditional housing and moved into “wheel estate”: RVs, travel trailers, vans, pickup campers, even a salvaged Prius and other sedans. For many, sacrificing some material comforts had allowed them to survive, while reclaiming a small measure of freedom and autonomy. But that didn’t mean life on the road was easy…

The ranks of American itinerants started to boom after the housing collapse and have kept growing…

Federal minimum wage is stalled at $7.25 an hour. The cost of shelter continues to climb. There are now only a dozen counties and one metro area where a full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent…

Amazon has been the most aggressive recruiter of this nomadic workforce…

 

(more)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 3, 2017 8:40 pm

    Reblogged this on Beaux Artists.

    Like

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