The city of Los Angeles does not currently have any laws prohibiting people from living in residential areas in their RVs. The ordinance prohibiting the practice expired in January 2020.
Since then, some parts of the city have been overrun by campers.
“Where should we park in the neighborhood?” A man who lives near Rose and Main Streets is featured in a video broadcast on NBC4. The RVs are parked bumper to bumper along the street.
Residents complain that the campers are not only stealing parking spaces from residents – some are also blocking sidewalks with belongings, while others are dumping their toilets directly onto the street.
“I see a lot of rubbish and it stinks,” said Venice-based Sara Baton. “It smells really bad.”
“We need a place for them,” said John Scott, another Venice resident. “And I don’t think it’s here.”
Proponents of the homeless say it’s not a crime not to be able to afford rent, and in a city with sky-high housing costs, RV camping is better – and safer – than sleeping on the street.
“When I lost my job, we had to find another apartment,” said Charles O’Neal. He moved into a converted bus because he couldn’t afford the rent while his wife goes to college.
“A lot of these people here are hardworking people,” he said.
When the ordinance banning RV camping expired in January last year, the city didn’t renew it, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although there are still signs against overnight parking in some places, there are currently no restrictions anywhere in the city.
LA City Councilor Joe Buscaino is trying to revive the ban.
“The city of Los Angeles is now the largest RV park in the country,” he said. “And we owe it to the housed and the uninhabited, because today it’s a free-for-everything.”
However, he wants to adapt the law so that RV owners can get free parking permits in industrial areas.
This would allow the city to control how many RVs are parked in each space.
The permits would also connect RV residents to homeless services.
Buscaino believes the amendments to the regulation would allow the law to withstand potential constitutional challenges. Violations can result in fines.
“If you don’t follow the rules, you have to move on,” he said.
The proposed regulation will be examined by the city’s homeless and poverty committee later in November. If approved, it will go to the entire city council.
But even if the regulation is finally approved, it will likely take many months for enforcement to begin.
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