AUSTIN (KXAN) — There are thousands of people who are experiencing homelessness across the City of Austin, but not all are living in tents or under a bridge — some are living in their cars.

“I lived in my car for two years,” said Tony Carter, who was on a visit to Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center.

Carter is not the only person in Austin who turned to a car for shelter, many parking lots and parks around Austin have become popular places to park and live.

If you drive to the entrance of Barton Springs Pool on the Azie Morton Drive side, you will see cars lining the parking lot and many of them are being used for shelter.

A woman who visits the park frequently tells us people have been camping in their cars for months without any enforcement. She hopes they can get some help, but she does have safety concerns.

“It would be nice to see a policeman here,” said the woman, who told KXAN her car was broken into while she was visiting the pool.

While some people choose to live in their cars and travel the country while they work, there are many who are on their last leg and one step away from tent life or living under a bridge.

“I would say for a lot of people there is a progression of having your own place, then living with family or friends, then oftentimes living in a car and then eventually becoming completely unsheltered,” said Mark Hilbelink, executive director of Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center.

KXAN asked Hilbelink if the situation of people living in their cars because they are experiencing homelessness has become a crisis.

“I would absolutely say so,” said Hilbelink.

Some of his clients are families with kids. Last year his organization identified about 400 kids living in cars with their parents in Austin.

“We are on pace to assess about 1,000 children living in cars this year, and there are a lot of families living outside,” said Hilbelink.

High rent and home prices, as well as inflation, are not helping the situation.

Hilbelink said they have been working with families and kids who are experiencing homelessness to help get them back on their feet and out of the cars they are living in.