Homeless and on the move

The story of a homeless man with a shelter
Posted at 11:04 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 02:08:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A recent study by the San Diego Regional Task Force found over nine thousand people are homeless in San Diego County.

But roughly a third of those people are considered “Sheltered.” Those people who live in some sort of rescue mission, out of their own cars, vans, an R-V, and are constantly on the move.

Some can be incredibly resilient despite their misfortunes. People like Scott Rossell, one of hundreds of San Diegan’s that wander from place to place in their vehicles avoiding eviction by constantly staying one step ahead of law enforcement.

"That's the trick about being homeless. You wiggle, you constantly wiggle," says Rossell with a laugh. "I'm not homeless, I'm houseless. But that's not necessarily the worst thing to be."

Rossell is considered a "sheltered homeless" by government standards. He lives in a self-converted delivery van.

"This is my bed," says Rossell as he gives a brief tour of his home on wheels.

The tour doesn’t last long. It’s essentially a large box on wheels just 14 feet long by 7 feet wide.

"This is a gas powered and electric fridge,” Rossell pauses and then adds to the van’s description. “It's smaller than a studio apartment but bigger than a jail cell."

Rossell is not ashamed to be homeless but he does fear the criticism from others when they think of the word.

"People need to get over that phrase, that word, homeless. It comes across as a description of a disease," says Rossell. "It's not a condition it's an event. Being homeless is something that happens to you. And it can happen to anyone."

For Rossell, it happened five years ago, after a divorce and a medical condition he claims to have called Metabolic Syndrome making it difficult to hold a job.

"I got my laptop, this is the center of my life. This is where I do any writing."

Rossell makes what little money he can by taking odd contracting jobs as a technical writer. And he reads constantly educating himself.

"This is the solar charge controller, " Rossell says proudly.

He created his own self-made solar unit and installed solar panels on the roof of his van to power everything from his TV, to his coffee maker, and more.

"I have an ice maker because you need ice."

Yup, Rossell has all the amenities of home. Just not the home you might envision. And with that he points to a quote he scribbled on the entry way of his van.

“I have eliminated one great fear. At least I know I have a home in a vehicle," Rossell said. "Which is true - home is where you park it."