Dane Co. woman chooses trailer life over $1,200 rent

A Dane Co. woman isn’t keeping her idea of “home” inside a fence.
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 9:37 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 10:32 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Dane Co. woman isn’t keeping her idea of “home” inside a fence.

Liz fits her life in a 10 feet by 6 feet trailer. “I have too much space sometimes,” she said. “I don’t usually talk to a lot of people, so it’s a nice place where I can sit, enjoy a book, play my own music.”

Keeping mostly to Dane Co., the 26-year-old and her dog move at least every two days. “I always like to say I live everywhere and nowhere at the same time,” she said.

Before last February, the bartender and server had her own apartment in Madison. Then the pandemic hit her industry, and at one point she lost her job. She said she could not pay her monthly rent of $1,200.

“It was too much. I didn’t need that much space. On top of that, it ends up just feeling empty sometimes versus this. It has just the right amount of space and coziness for me and my dog,” she said.

Parked on the west side of Madison Tuesday, her alternative to rent is a one-time payment of $1,500, covering new tires and a used trailer equipped with a heater.

“Homelessness is a problem in Madison. I will say that, but I do not consider myself to be one of the homeless,” she said. “This is my choice. I have a job. I’m continuously working on it, improving my structure, the same as anyone who would get an expansion on their home.”

Liz is working to build a bar on a frame that is currently connected to her trailer. She said there will be a roof, air conditioning and running water.

Without running water yet, Liz relies on showering at hotels. She said she also hears of complaints from people living near where she is parked, and she has dealt with problems caused by a generator for the heat. Once, she said she got carbon monoxide poisoning and went to the hospital.

Does she miss the brick and mortar?

“Not really,” she said. “Once in a while I thought about it, but it’s more I miss the convenience of having a shower at the same place, which I plan on actually having in this one also.”

Liz said she hears from city officials if she forgets to move her vehicle and if somebody complains. According to the Madison Police Department website, vehicles cannot stand on a street continuously for more than 48 hours.

In choosing where she goes next, Liz said she keeps an eye on area crime rates, while trying to steer clear of homes, businesses and schools.

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