Web Exclusive: Employed and homeless

(CNN) - Is it possible to be fully employed and homeless at the same time? Apparently it is if you work in Santa Barbara, California. One bus driver and his wife are both working, but unfortunately, can't afford a home.

Julius Torrevillas is behind the wheel of a Santa Barbara MTD bus five days a week. A full-time job that pays 19 dollars an hour to the jovial driver with the unforgettable beard. But when his work day's over, he moves from his bus, to another vehicle, his van where he lives.

This is home because he makes too much to qualify for public housing, but can't afford rent in the high cost city of Santa Barbara. Debt from a failed small business piled up and he and his wife are still digging out. So this county parking lot is where they sleep. Joined by more than a dozen others who live in their cars. It's called the 'Safe Parking Program.' 114 spaces spread out across the county with a waiting list of more than 40.

"I have senior citizens."

"I have couples."

"I have families."

A third of the people, says the program's manager, have jobs, but are under-employed, like approximately 17% of Americans. And when asked what she thinks it says about America for someone who has a job, wants to work, but has to live in a car she says

"I think people would be shocked."

"I think they would be shocked if they would come and meet some of these people because, I tell you, when they come into my office, I want to cry because it reminds me of someone who could be my mother, my sister, my brother."

Or your bus driver who starts his day on the move. Breakfast with his wife Mary is at the donut shop. The bathroom, a public one. The dressing room, the back of the van.

"Normal life is what you miss."

"Living in a van is not the norm."

"I think the middle class has slid down the scale a little bit more to the lower class and it's a little tougher for the middle class people to survive and actually pursue the American dream."

Torrevillas keeps chasing the dream, hoping whoever wins this election will be able to shift the economy into gear.


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