Housing Crunch Forces "Permanent Campers"

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - Some things you don't expect to see are tents in an RV park.

For Midessa Oilpatch RV Park, they see them every day now that the housing crunch has pushed them full to the brim.

For Tori Smith, her son Robert and Patrick King, these tents have been their homes for the last three months, with nowhere else to go in Midland or Odessa.

"'We have no openings. We have a six month waiting list. We have a year waiting list,'" Smith said, reciting all of the things she's been told looking for apartments and houses.

"'Basically, give us money to put you on a waiting list and then we'll call,'" King said.

Now they sit out in the hot sun with water from a spigot.

They haul in 60 lbs. of ice a day to cool food, which melts by the end of the day.

They use the park's electricity to search online for a place to stay.

"It's just pathetic," Smith said. "You always have to grill. You can't use an oven."

"It's one great, big picnic. One great, big camping experience is what it is," King said. "You wake up sweating, you sweat all day long and you go to bed sweating."

Others in the area have been camping so long, they've hooked up AC units to their tents.

Smith and King want out of this and want city leaders to do something about it.

"I'd actually tell apartment complexes, housing, instead of businesses," Smith said.

"We've got all the shopping centers all over the cities, all over Midland and Odessa, but what is wanting to be built? Apartments," King said.

Until more are built, Smith, King and the others at the park will stay permanent campers until they have a place they can call their own.