LAHD offers help to those living in unsanitary RVs at Sylmar home, but only if city shuts it down

The property has been accused of dumping sewage onto streets, causing a smell and safety hazard.

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Saturday, July 8, 2023
Part 3: Owner of illegal RV lot says she's trying to help people
The owner of a Sylmar home that rents out more than 20 RVs on her property says she is trying to help people by offering low rent.

SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Housing Department employees met with residents living in a collection of recreational vehicles packed inside a Sylmar backyard, offering them housing, but only if they were to lose access to the RVs.

Two men who identified themselves as LAHD workers said they were trying to help the people who are living in the RVs. A spokesperson for LAHD confirmed staff members were sent to the property.

But residents of the RVs say the offer of housing would only go into effect if the owner of the property was ordered to remove the mobile homes.

More than 20 RVs are packed tightly onto a property in the 14000 block of Hubbard Street. Neighbors shared video of what they say is human waste pouring out into the streets and into their yards, creating terrible smells and unhealthy conditions.

But since Eyewitness News broke the story last month, neighbors say the stench is less noticeable.

"It's a lot less now," said Hector Rivera, who has lived in the surrounding neighborhood for 15 years. "Now that people are aware of it, they're being more careful."

Rivera and his neighbors have been struggling for years to have the RVs removed. The mini shantytown straddles the border between the cities of L.A. and San Fernando. And despite an organized effort from local residents complete with a petition, the RVs remain.

But neighbors say they are now seeing some progress. San Fernando code enforcement officers earlier this week did cite the property owner, Cruz Godoy, with three violations.

Godoy is also charged with two misdemeanors in L.A. County Superior Court regarding the parking of RVs and the maintenance of trash and debris.

Eyewitness News has tried repeatedly to speak with Godoy, but her attorney told ABC7 she and her client have no comment.

Manny Femat, who works on the property for Godoy, says she rents out the RVs to help the low-income people living there.

"She was helping them because rent is so expensive," he said. "It wasn't like she was taking advantage of nobody, exploiting anybody."

But our investigation found Godoy charges about $500 a month for each RV, which adds up to more than $120,000 a year. Her neighbors say her operation has nothing to do with generosity.

"Tax-free, cash! My opinion: it's not the people, she's in it for the profit," Rivera said.