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Voices of the Unemployed: Living in a Van
Voices of the Unemployed: Living in a Van

AIR DATE: September 7, 2011

Bob is 62. He's unemployed, and he sometimes calls our show when he's listening. But here's where Bob's story is different: he calls us from his van. Where he lives. For the past 5 months, Bob has squeezed his entire life within the rectangle of his Dodge Caravan - bed, food, stove. He says he never expected to be living in his car, but that a whole new community of people - suddenly jobless and homeless - are also living behind the wheel. Who are these people? How do they get by? And how does one go from a full-time job to suddenly living alone in a van? Bob lets us into his van and tells us the secrets of surviving when you're homeless in Las Vegas. Rebroadcast.
"Bob," unemployed and living in his van






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    We need the homeless, sick and otherwise downtrodden. If life were easy, nobody would work those crappy jobs, and if there were no crappy jobs, nobody would work hard to establish a career. Welcome to America!
    BobSep 12, 2011 21:33:10 PM
    When Bob's story first aired, I was the lone dissenter in the comments section of 8/29 when I questioned why Bob needed to resort to homelessness given the personal and financial situation he detailed. Bob replied with a comment that made little sense to me and further caused me to believe that his situation was not, at its root, financial. I replied to his comment, and for anyone interested that thread can be found here: My comments (Bonacker) are, as of now, at the top, being the most recent.
    BonackerSep 6, 2011 02:41:38 AM
    The first time I heard the essay I was not impressed with this Bob's situation as I got the impression of one who was actually lost. This is emotionally, and morally. After listening to the essay in all its entirety I learn he is adjusting. Forming relationships and relocating fom "lost wages". This is significant for IMHO he is at the start of opportunity for if one study's many lives of 'success' often they start fom even less than a van.Its the attitude of the person involved and many would give thier right arms to be a vagabond.................... Take away the entertainment value of media reporting we have an individual persuing the "right of the individual to live thier life as they think fit". Even soldiers live tough sometimes for long periods of time even in training and there is no stigma on that, so why here? Bob has a wonderful opportunity.....................! Paul
    PaulSep 5, 2011 21:32:47 PM
    The man is absolutly right.I am a truck driver I spent 17months living in a tent in ny state through 2winters and into the summer when my last company blackballed me.No one would hire me.I was very fortunate to be hired last year after putting in 24years on the road with no problems on my CDL record.There are many drivers with only their trucks to live in.Either not enough jobs for both parents to keep up or the irs is persuing us for imagined taxes never really owed.As the man said,its not a good idea to say you are homeless to people unless you really want to find where christian religion and your friends end.This experience has lit a fire under me to change the way government has led us.I am now a voting libertarian.I was trying to keep warm while the democrats and republicans were arguing about things that could easily be fixed by those of us suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.We need to place every political candidate on homeless status for a year before they can run for any office.or worse,BE a slave to the state setup of welfare.You must live the situation in order to even have a notion of what its like.Its a sad statement for our great nation.
    RJ PickeringSep 5, 2011 20:55:51 PM
    Bob might want to look at driving a cab... they're always hiring... hundreds of cab drivers were previously downsized from better paying careers but are able to keep food on the table by driving a cab. It's not glamorous but he should be able to bring in close to what he used to earn (I believe he mentioned he used to earn $450/week)... some companies even pay their drivers daily.
    NickSep 5, 2011 16:32:06 PM
    Great interview! It was an eye opener for me...!
    HLCSep 5, 2011 14:04:30 PM
    Great interview! Wonderfully enlightening about not just his life, but also others he's met during this period, who are much worse off than he is. Too bad he can't reach out to his children, but I understand his reluctance. I missed the intro so don't know what kind of work he's looking for. Will listen to the replay for that. Just now, sounds like he's doing much better. Great!
    jimSep 5, 2011 09:46:56 AM
    This was one of the best SON shows I've heard since I've been listening (since the beginning of the show). We are all probably just a paycheck or two away from Bob's predicament. It was heartening to hear how he's managed to survive, but worrisome that so many are in his situation. The story he told about the women with cancer with no insurance who had to ride with her trucker husband was particularly disturbing. Thank you SON. Great show.
    MichaelSep 5, 2011 09:41:53 AM
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