The city’s expensive housing market is out of reach for many.

Major cities around the world are facing rising housing costs and climbing rates of homelessness. The struggle to afford housing is forcing some residents to seek alternatives, like RVs and motorhomes. That’s what’s happening under the Gowanus Expressway in New York City, where PIX 11 News met some of the people living under the bridge. 

The news outlet interviewed Jose Rivera, a hearing-impaired mechanic, who could no longer afford his rent on his $700-a-month supplemental income. Instead of heading to one of the city’s shelters, Rivera bought an RV for $500. Rivera is happier in his RV than he would have been in a shelter, where he’s been robbed before. 

Rivera’s RV joins at least 10 others the now call the Gowanus Expressway home. The unofficial mobile home park doesn’t break any laws either, so long as the RVs are moved once a week for street cleaning. And, according to the report, any issues will be resolved by the New York Police Department if any traffic laws are broken. 

Many of the RVs under the expressway have water and electricity with one having a generator chained outside. Many of those living under the expressway work, too, with few being home when the news crew came through. One man, who wished to remain anonymous, told PIX 11 that buying an RV is one way to survive in the city.

Many of the RVs under the bridge are far from the luxurious motorhomes we often highlight. For many, these aren’t recreational vehicles for a weekend away. It’s a home in a city where housing costs are unaffordable for many working people. Far too often, cities target the poor and homeless with swift action if camps or other makeshift structures become too much of an issue. Hopefully, if the camp is abiding by the law, they'll continue to live there.