San Franciscans consider living in 'Glampervans' instead of apartments

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the cost of living goes up in the Bay Area, so does the number of people looking for alternative housing options.

And with that has come the rise of a new market: Upscale, livable vans.

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Rob Novotny started "Glampervan" -- a company that turns vans into multi-use vehicles -- as a way to upgrade old-style campers.

But he's increasingly getting calls from people not looking for a place to camp, but a place to live.

"One that comes to mind is a woman who is spending $5,000 for a 2-bedroom apartment and she actually has all the parking spots all throughout the city worked out already," Novotny explained. "Like, this one is a Thursday; this one is a Wednesday and all that so that she won't get hassled and stay moving."

It is currently illegal to sleep in your car overnight in San Francisco, but that isn't stopping people from living in vans.

"Glampervans," which range from $50,000-$90,0000, can be outfitted with queen-sized beds, a dining table, a kitchen with a sink and refrigerator, cabinet space and even a portable toilet.

Sam Ausden is a Glampervan employee who lives in his van, which he has built himself and even has a stove, fireplace, and shower.

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"It's been really easy and just allowed me to now establish myself in the Bay Area here without the exorbitant rent prices, but still having my own space to call my own," Ausden said.

It's also drastically altered his commute.

"I used to commute two hours a day to work, now I'm five feet to the front door of my officer here," he explained.

At the moment, Ausden says most people he talks to are like Damien Rasmussen, who was checking out the "Glampervans" during an expo on Saturday.

Rasmussen is seriously considering moving out of his San Francisco apartment and into one of these vans, but has yet to make the jump.

"I don't mean to sound harsh but this is the reality here in San Francisco," he said. "I mean, you've been around and see all the people living in their cars and trailers. This at least is making an effort to have something cleaner."

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But, he still has some reservations.

The size is a concern ("It's one thing to go from 450 sq feet to 80 sq feet," he said) and also the parking.

"Where do you call your home base?" he asked. "If you cut your ties completely with your apartment then you can't get a parking permit, so those are the trade-offs."

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