In The Old Days We Had “Slumlords”, But In 2024 We Have “Vanlords”


This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog. 

If you live in a major city, you can see them all around you.  I am talking about aging vans, RVs, and trailers that are parked on the side of the road for months at a time and that obviously have people living in them.  There is an entire class of people that live in such conditions, and there is an entire class of “businessmen” that prey on such people.  When I was growing up, there were lots of headlines about “slumlords” that were taking advantage of the poor.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a “slumlord” is “a landlord who receives unusually large profits from substandard, poorly maintained properties”.  Today, we have a different sort of problem.  “Vanlords” are parking vans, RVs, and trailers along the streets of the worst parts of our major cities, and they are renting them out to people who cannot afford regular homes.  Sadly, we live at a time when lots and lots of people cannot afford regular homes because homelessness is absolutely exploding all over the nation.  In some areas there have been efforts to crack down on the “vanlords”, but when things get too hot in one area they just move somewhere else.  As long as there are vast hordes of homeless Americans that are deeply suffering, there will be “vanlords” that are eager to take advantage of them.

Matt Feely just authored a very interesting piece about this phenomenon.  He says that things are particularly bad in the poorest sections of Oakland…

The most familiar and ominous form of homelessness in Oakland, however, has become the vehicle encampment. A few small clusters of vehicles have gathered in my North Oakland neighbourhood, lines of dirty campers and battered cars seeking shade under an elevated freeway, but poor East Oakland has it the worst. There, such encampments have taken over long stretches of busy street, visiting already-distressed neighbourhoods with huge living sculptures of ugliness and disorder — cars filled with clothes and junk; hulking RVs parked for months at a time, drug and sex deals conducted streetside; trash gathering around and between the vehicles, and lots of new crime. Recently, the city had to replace traffic lights at an East Oakland intersection with stop signs, because people, presumably from the vehicle encampment close by, were constantly stealing the cables to sell the copper wire inside.

All over the country, this is how vast numbers of people are living now.

Unfortunately, most of the people that are living in RVs don’t even own them.  Instead, most of them are owned by the “vanlords”…

But the people in those RVs don’t own them. They rent them, from people who’ve come to be called “vanlords”. These energetic businesspeople buy up old trailers and RVs and either drive or tow them to unfortunate neighbourhoods in cities like Oakland. There they enter into informal rental agreements with homeless people.

This is also happening on a very large scale in southern California.

In fact, it is being estimated that the number of people living in RVs in Los Angeles County actually increased by 31 percent from 2020 to 2023…

The number of people living in RVs across L.A. County has jumped 31% from 2020 to 2023, according to the annual homeless counts.

About 11,500 people are estimated to live in roughly 6,800 RVs.

With each passing day, more impoverished people are being forced out into the streets.

And with each passing day, more formerly middle-class Americans are joining the ranks of the poor.

Our standard of living has declined so much that we have reached a point where even most middle-class Americans are struggling financially…

A majority of middle-class Americans are experiencing financial hardship that they expect will continue for the rest of their lives, according to a new poll.

Findings published by the National True Cost of Living Coalition show that 65% of Americans whose incomes are 200% above the national poverty line – which is about $62,300 for a family of four, often considered middle class – said they are struggling financially.

In many cases, a single accident or a single bad break is enough to push someone over the edge.

The vast majority of us are just barely scraping by from month to month, and that is because the cost of living has been rising much faster than paychecks have…

The typical U.S. household needed to pay $227 more a month in March to purchase the same goods and services it did one year ago because of still-high inflation. Americans are paying on average $784 more each month compared with the same time two years ago and $1,069 more compared with three years ago.

If you are still doing well, please don’t look down on those that are hurting.

Many of them were once just like you.

Sadly, many more Americans will be dumped out into the streets soon as economic conditions continue to deteriorate.

This week, we learned that initial claims for unemployment benefits have hit the highest level in 10 months…

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week unexpectedly jumped to the highest level in 10 months, the latest sign that the labor market is starting to cool in the face of high interest rates.

Figures released Thursday by the Labor Department show initial claims for the week ending June 8 increased by 13,000 to 242,000, above the 2019 pre-pandemic average of 218,000 claims. It marks the highest level for jobless claims since August 2023.

Continuing claims, filed by Americans who are consecutively receiving unemployment benefits, also rose to 1.82 million for the week ended June 1, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week.

Virtually all of the economic numbers that we have been getting lately tell us that the economy is rapidly heading in the wrong direction.

So if you think that things are bad now, just wait until you see what is coming.

Personally, I fully expect conditions to get steadily worse throughout the rest of 2024.

All of the “vanlords” out there will soon have even more potential customers to prey on, and that is not good news for any of us.

Michael’s new book entitled “Chaos” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on, and you can subscribe to his Substack newsletter at

About the Author: Michael Snyder’s extremely controversial new book entitled “Chaos” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on He has also written seven other books that are available on including “End Times”, “7 Year Apocalypse”, “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America”, “The Beginning Of The End”, and “Living A Life That Really Matters”.  When you purchase any of Michael’s books you help to support the work that he is doing.  You can also get his articles by email as soon as he publishes them by subscribing to his Substack newsletter.  Michael has published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream, and The Most Important News, and he always freely and happily allows others to republish those articles on their own websites.  These are such troubled times, and people need hope.  John 3:16 tells us about the hope that God has given us through Jesus Christ: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  If you have not already done so, we strongly urge you to invite Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior today.


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