Amid high housing prices, growing number of Metro Vancouver residents living in RVs

The growing lack of affordable housing in Metro Vancouver has forced more people to turn living in RVs.
WATCH: Skyrocketing rent and zero vacancies mean more and more people are turning to living on four wheels. Aaron McArthur looks at the impacts of camper living.

The lack of affordable housing in Metro Vancouver is forcing people to turn their RVs into more than just vacation homes.

For some people, RVs are the only thing standing between them and homelessness.

Rafael Sombrano lives on a fixed income and sleeps in an RV parked on a city street.

“The prices now are so crazy that it’s impossible to own,” he said.

But some consider the RVs to be a nuisance. They tend to congregate around the few free parking spots left in the region.

WATCH: Growing community of people living in vehicles

Growing community of people living in vehicles
Growing community of people living in vehicles

Business owners are frustrated that a makeshift community is popping up on their doorsteps.

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“They not super-clean,” Christine Hamilton of North Vancouver’s Made By Me Sewing studio said. “They’re not looking after their space. They’re littering, leaving all kinds of garbage around.”

The City of Vancouver says it doesn’t like to target people living in RVs but will ticket people who are parked illegally. They also have an outreach team to encourage people living in vehicles to find long-term housing.

READ MORE: Vancouver hosts ‘Big Conversation’ to address future of affordable housing

Some young people, however, have no interest in long-term housing, choosing to live in a vehicle rather than pay for a mortgage.

“It’s a little bit more economical. It allows you to save for the future,” said Colby Thacker, who lives in a van.

READ MORE: Calgary couple ditches home for RV tour of Canada

William Price has lived in a vehicle for a decade.

He started living in a ’97 Chevy Cavalier and then switched to a camper van. He is now renovating an RV from the wheels up.

He says he has no intention of moving back to a fixed address.

“I can have this view, I can have that view,” he said. “It’s a beautiful life.”