See inside one NYC man’s renovated ambulance home

Sound the sirens: This New Yorker has found a way to live rent-free. 

And the clever would-be tenant has built himself a medical emergency-inducingly clever way to get out of paying a landlord. 

“I just got it on a government auction website,” Elijah Young, 25, explained to creator Caleb Simpson during a video tour of the ambulance he lives in. Yes, an ambulance.

The Pendleton, Indiana-born actor, sound designer and photographer paid just $5,000 for his mobile emergency response house that — according to its former station — has had birth, death and every bodily fluid imaginable occur within it. 

That said, after purchasing it, he cleaned it thoroughly and sunk $15,000 into renovating it by hand over the course of some six months. 

He’s lived in the finished, tricked-out final product for about four months now, and taking his time with the transformation paid off. The little paramedic wagon has everything he needs.

“This is nicer than most people’s New York City apartments,” said Simpson while looking around the vehicular homestead, adding “I’m 6 foot and I can stand up in here. Barely, but that’s pretty good.”

Young also doesn’t have to break the bank simply by living. Over the course of the last year, rents across the city skyrocketed to record highs after plummeting to record lows in the earliest days of COVID-19 — coming as locals returned to the city from their pandemic hideaways, as schools reopened for instruction and as offices began requiring employees to return to work. Recently, rental prices across town have slightly cooled after months of consecutive increases — though they are still high. The latest Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel market report shows the median rent in Manhattan alone hit $4,022 per month in September, down 1.9% from $4,100 the previous month, but 21% more than the $3,325 tallied a year earlier. Those figures aren’t far from the cost of Young’s ambulance itself.

The inspiration to live this way came during his senior year of college, when he moved into a studio only to discover black mold, no air conditioning or hot water — and a broken refrigerator. The feeling that “I’m throwing $1,000 a month away on this and it’s awful” solidified his desire to invest in a mobile situation, he told The Post. Initially he looked into Sprinter vans, but found them to be out of his price range. Then he saw “a YouTube video of somebody retrofit an ambulance” and, impressed by the vehicle’s storage, went that less-traveled route instead.

His family and friends were immensely supportive during the renovation process. “A lot of people who do this lifestyle don’t have that kind of support,” he noted in gratitude.

Inside, a long, narrow couch along one side of the ambulance hides a custom, full-size Murphy bed that pops down from the wall and is equipped with 9-inch memory foam. (Simpson rates the comfort as “like a nine.”) 

The removable toilet is located in the curtained-off, hot water-equipped shower — a “wet bath situation,” as Young described it. 

Internal storage is surprisingly abundant thanks to plenty of clever workarounds and the ambulance’s size, which is significantly wider than the average van, as well as its built-in external storage “so you don’t have to have all your belongings on the inside or build a big roof rack or something,” said Young. 

Beneath the van’s only sink, away from the toilet in the main area, there are drawers for toiletries. The main cabin also has two built-in seats, one between the sink and the kitchenette, and the other being the driver’s chair. One of the external closets contains a 45-gallon fresh water tank. 

There’s a mini fridge, a carefully designed pantry complete with spice and booze racks, plus storage for his cookware above it. Filling up the truck, which takes diesel, is quite the expense, but “it evens out because, you know, no rent” Young said. 

elijah young ambulance home
Young’s ambulance, on the move.
Courtesy of Elijah Young

To cook, Young uses a propane camp stove he stores on a shelf above the jump seat. To work, he can either pull a tray out from the kitchenette for a sitting desk, or slot a board above the entry to the cab to create a standing desk. He uses a smart generator to power his electronics. 

Currently, Young is parked in New York, but with the ability to up and move at his fingertips, he goes at a moment’s notice where work and life take him. “I try to bounce around every day,” he told The Post, parking mostly on cul-de-sacs and in commercial and industrial areas. “I plan on staying until something pulls me somewhere else.”

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