Owner of makeshift RV park in Sylmar speaks out

During an event on homelessness, Bass said the legalities surrounding RVs has "proven to be more difficult" than tents.

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Sunday, July 23, 2023
Owner of makeshift RV park in Sylmar speaks out
During an event on homelessness, Mayor Karen Bass said the legalities surrounding RVs has "proven to be more difficult than" than tents.

SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The clock is ticking for nearly four dozen residents ordered to vacate a makeshift RV park that has become the center of controversy in Sylmar.

With a heat wave set to bear down on Southern California this weekend, some of the residents still don't have a place to go.

WATCH | Residents of makeshift RV lot spotted packing up following vacate order

Video showed some residents packing their belongings into vehicles as they've been ordered to vacate by Sunday, July 23.

On Wednesday, a judge ordered the property needed to be vacated by Sunday due to electrical and sewage problems.

The order included Cruz Godoy, who owns the property and lives in the main home. Residents say Godoy charges them around $500 a month for each mobile home. Aerial images show there are more than 20 RVs on the property.

"We are working with those folks now that need to be housed to get temporary housing," said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, who spoke to the media on Friday during an event about homelessness.

Even though Bass said the city is helping the residents, that doesn't mean they'll have a place to live by the weekend.

"I'm staying in my car, on the street ... how I started," said Jose Castillo, who has been living on Godoy's property.

Godoy spoke out on Friday, but didn't say much about her legal issues. She faces two misdemeanors for the hazardous RV colony.

She only said she was "doing God's work," adding that she doesn't know anything about unsanitary conditions.

"I can't tell you anything about that," she said. "I don't know about any dirtiness. I don't see any dirtiness."

Neighbors of the property still want to know why it's taken so long for the city to take action after years of complaining of reported stenches and human waste pouring off the property and into other yards.

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who represents the Sylmar area, blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for slowing the court system to a crawl.

But Bass blames the legalities surrounding RVs.

"We're convening a very specific task force to deal with RVs, because that's a situation that is all over the city and has proven to be more difficult than the tents, especially because the ownership of the RVs most of the time is not clear," said Bass.

A man who spoke with ABC7 this week said residents have fired up three to four generators since the L.A. Fire Department cut the property's power on Tuesday, which was one of the hottest days of the year in the valley.

So will everyone have a home come Sunday?

One RV tenant who spoke with Eyewitness News on Thursday said he was only promised a one-time reimbursement for lost rent and an offer of temporary shelter.

"I asked for housing. In this case, they said they couldn't. All they did, yesterday, they gave me some papers from the city for shelter. I really don't want to go to shelter. That's not for me," the man said.

The man said he didn't know what others in the RVs were being offered. He said he'll crash with his brother for a few days and has a lead on a room he can rent.