Kathy is a senior citizen, Marva is a nurse, Santiago is a chef and Luis is an eighth-grade student.
All of them live in Santa Barbara with one thing in common.
When night falls, they head to designated parking lots and sleep in their vehicles, all clients in the region’s Safe Parking program.
“I was always into December and making the house wonderfully warm and beautiful,” said Kathy, whose holiday celebration is somewhat more austere these days. “I’ve got some little lights on the ceiling of the RV, and I got out my mom’s old snow globe, with a music box on it.”
Kathy is 65 and her longtime companion and RV-mate Phil is 74. Like so many others, they live on the edge in California, where high housing prices have pushed thousands of people to un-imagined extremes.
Living in a vehicle is obviously better than living in a tent or a box — it’s a kind of middle-class homelessness. But in affluent Santa Barbara and elsewhere, the ever-present convoys are another sign of growing income inequality and one of the state’s most vexing problems — even working people can barely afford to live in many parts of California.
The full article entitled “Living out of a car amid lap of luxury,” can be currently found at
www.latimes.com/local/c alifornia/la-me-lopez-safe-par king-20171224-story.html