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Austin man builds house on top of his car, turns tragedy into positivity

Austin man builds house on top of his car, turns tragedy into positivity

Terry Gonzalez roams the Austinspace in his mobile home, but it’s not what you would imagine when you hear the words ‘mobile home’.

Gonzalez’s house sits atop his sedan, which he built entirely himself. FOX 7 got a chance to hear his story while parked on the corner of Barton Springs Road and Lamar Blvd.

“How I ever thought of this I’ll never know until I saw that metal frame sitting there, and I said to myself, ‘Looks like that will fit on top of my car,'” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez says this house was built out of necessity so that his furry friends, such as his dog Oliver, have room to lie down in his vehicle.

Although Gonzalez and his animals have lived in this house for years, it is still a work in progress. His next project to the house is to add a skylight.

“Honestly, they’re all pallets, and they’re leftover pallets from a Circle K board,” Gonzalez said. “The chandeliers I might add are a recent addition and everything is functional.”

Gonzalez’s living situation has received some attention on the streets of Austin, as well as on social media. He says he appreciates the attention, but most people who show support for his self-built house don’t know the reason behind it.

While it may appear that Gonzalez’s house is the result of the current state of the Austin housing market, it is actually a product of creativity and survival after he lost countless personal belongings.

“It just brings out a heavy emotion, you know, the attention, the love you’ve given it, when for me it’s built from tragedy,” Gonzalez said.

He said this all came about after the previous house he had remodeled and burned down. He claims that family of the owners of that house set it on fire. Shortly after losing his home, Gonzalez says his truck and trailer were towed and taken away, and he was unable to get his belongings out, including thousands of dollars worth of tools.

Gonzalez’ famous drivable home was the positive result of hard times. He says the support from Austin residents has kept him going, and he especially appreciates that the Travis County authorities persuaded him only to compliment his home, not give him a quote.

“I never thought I would have this moment here to thank everyone in person,” Gonzalez said. “Austin, thank you so much, you brought this to life in a way I could never have imagined.”

He doesn’t plan on leaving Austin anytime soon, but he never leaves his house in one place for too long.