Julie Atkins, 58, is a freelance journalist based in Ashland, Oregon. In 2016 she took a road trip, and over the next two years lived among the homeless from Portland to Denver. She asked what they needed to get off the streets, and found some families with children living in abandoned school busses, where they slept on the floor and had no toilet, shower or kitchen.


Atkins learned that homeless families want "a place to live that is their own, and that's safe -- and they want to be mobile so they get better jobs." After meeting the homeless, she came up with the idea of taking retired school busses and converting them into nice, livable spaces with kitchens and bathrooms for working homeless families. She launched "Vehicles for Changes" about 18 months ago, and her first family moved into a converted, tricked-out "Skoolie" about nine months later.