LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved two separate but complementary motions Wednesday aimed to reduce recreational vehicle homelessness throughout the city.
The first motion, presented by Councilwoman Nithya Raman, directed several city departments to report back within 60 days with a comprehensive city-wide rehousing strategy for people experiencing RV homelessness. The motion instructed staff to include in their strategy a way to identify and secure appropriate interim shelter and housing for people living in RVs; creation of incentives for voluntary relinquishment of RVs used as dwellings; expanding safe parking programs; and necessary budgetary and staffing resources.
According to Raman, for years the city's response to vehicular homelessness, particularly RVs, has been reactive and not one focused on resolving homelessness.
"One thing I really appreciate about this report is that it gives a big number, $141 million, that we need in order to build out some of these broader solutions like buy-back programs for decrepit RVs, storage programs for RVs that people want to store, setting up safe parking that actually accommodates our RVs, which would include 24-hour parking and potentially having the ability for people to plug in and connect to sewage," Raman said.
Brian Buchner, the city homelessness coordinator with the Office of the CEO, said that currently the city's safe parking sites are not 24 hours, and the city is considering temporary and short-term RV storage.
"I hope that we can work with our service providers to do outreach and achieve our ultimate goal of moving people into permanent housing," Councilwoman Traci Park said.
Park said the RV situation is stressful and frustrating for her constituents in Council District 11.
"My district, like most Angelenos, (is) simply fed up with the status quo," Park said. "In my district that includes environmental degradation like what is occurring at our environmentally sensitive habitat at Ballona Wetlands."
According to Park, garbage and sewage are being illegally dumped into the protected marsh and all over her district's storm drains.
"RVs' garbage and debris on our sidewalks are chocking our roadways and creating dangerous conditions for motorists and pedestrians," she added.
Michele Dumont, a resident of Council District 11, said during public comment that RV parking places need to be close to where people are located now. Many of these individuals cannot be moved to another location because they work and live in the community, she added.
"I also would really hate that the LAPD is involved in this just because they might escalate problems," Dumont said.
The second motion, presented by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, seeks to expand the Council District 7 RV pilot program citywide. According to Rodriguez, the program, led in collaboration with West Valley Homes YES, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and LA Family Housing, helped remove 34 RVs from her district and housed 44 individuals, with more than 70 people enrolled in the program and 26 people waiting to be enrolled.
"The Los Angeles City Council adopted a process which will streamline efforts to create a more cost-effective and expedited approach to addressing the over-complicated and multifaceted homelessness crisis on our streets," Rodriguez said in statement.
The council will receive further updates regarding a city-wide rehousing strategy for people experiencing RV homelessness, and a report back on the feasibility of expanding the District 7 RV pilot program citywide.
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