Thursday, December 8, 2022


San Diego to again allow sleeping in RVs and cars


It’s legal once again to live in your RV or car in San Diego. The town’s City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to repeal a 1983 ordinance prohibiting residents from living in a vehicle on any street within city limits. Many of the homeless shared stories of heartache and desperation from their time living on the streets.

“I was nearly homeless. I was not because of my car. I’m a Navy veteran – got out in 2012 and battled addiction and my car was my only haven,” one man said.

“Homeless people are not going anywhere as long as there’s not affordable housing, and the gap between income and housing cost continues to mushroom,” said another.

“Nobody wants to see people relegated to living in their cars, on the streets, away from services,” said City Councilman Chris Ward. “It’s not real housing. We need to … work on more housing opportunities.”

The city’s homeless residents are not likely to feel the immediate effects of the repeal. The city has not enforced the ordinance since last Aug. 21, in light of an injunction stemming from an ongoing legal challenge to the measure in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Statistics on the number of the city’s homeless who live in their cars are somewhat hazy after last January’s Point in Time homeless count, which counted 1,262 residents living in a vehicle throughout San Diego County. RVs were not included in the tally.

“It’s certainly not a permanent solution to the crisis that we’re facing by any means, but 100 percent of the time I’d rather have someone sleeping in a car than on the sidewalk,” said City Councilman Mark Kersey.

SOURCE: Times of San Diego.

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Richard Davidson
3 years ago

So does this mean I can park and stay in my 40ft motorhome on the streets in San Fran?

Howard Roark
3 years ago

I have a suggestion on how to find out how much a politician really cares about homeless folks living in their cars. Call the office of, say, LA Mayor Garcetti and ask how many homeless people living in cars would be permitted to park on his street.

It is my understanding that the demographic of the homeless is not monolithic, but that it consists of addicts, veterans, people who have fallen out of the middle class due to job loss, medical expenses, you name it. Breaks my heart to see my fellow Americans in this situation. How close are many of us to becoming a member of the Joad family?

George Sears
3 years ago

Michael Connelly is the best selling author of the Harry Bosch novels. One of his characters is a female police detective who lives in a van, the small European kind, in LA. In the books, he often discusses homeless people, and their interactions with the police. In general what Connelly is saying echoes this change in policy in SD. It’s just ridiculous to tell homeless people not to live in a car if it means living in a refrigerator box, or under a bridge. LA Mayor Garcetti says homelessness is the number one problem in LA, and clearly people need to find very basic answers.

I follow someone on YouTube who lives in a van, the same van I own and use as a camper. He has been on the streets of Seattle for a while, and in the van for a few years. It’s possible to do this. He has a job and it’s pretty ‘normal’. Not great for a family, maybe. Bob Wells is something of a saint for getting a lot of ideas on how to live in a car or van “out there”, on his website and channel. Will Prowse has lived on the streets of San Francisco for years, and explains how to do it. It mostly means parking in industrial areas. He has a You Tube channel.

On some level it makes sense to just open up any city to overnight parking in designated areas. I’ve seen videos on parking real RV’s in New York City and in New Orleans. I mean, gee, you pull into a space and you spend the night. No, people don’t want this in front of their house, but there’s a lot of other parking in most cities.

I don’t believe they should criminalize homelessness. If people can find solutions, why not support them where it is reasonable?

3 years ago
Reply to  George Sears

Thank you for pointing out the reality that many folks are living out of their vehicles nowadays. Some because they have to, others because they need to save money, and even some because they want to travel.

Housing is seriously limited here in San Diego, many simply can’t afford it. I’d always wondered why homelessness was criminalized and am glad to see that they are at least letting people stay in their vehicles now.

The biggest problem here with homelessness is sanitation. Our beautiful new downtown library is surrounded by some not so savory homeless characters who think nothing of relieving themselves on the sidewalks and parking lot. They also hang out in the library and the stench of unwashed bodies can be overwhelming. Neighborhood business owners are starting to be fed up with some groups if homeless who can be aggressive with panhandling. But they are only part of today’s “homeless”.

I’d like to see some public sanitation measures to include plenty of bathrooms and washing facilities for those without rvs, as well as rv sewage connections available for those living in rvs. Some churches in our city are allowing people to park overnight and are providing toilet facilities. Of course, the devil’s in the details in implementing such a plan, but if we as a society have the will to do so, we will find a way.

Old Prospector
3 years ago

I agree. My family and I can relate to this. Myself and my family have in the past been there, and done that a couple of times in having to live on the streets in our van or travel trailer because we were down on our luck and fell upon hard times. – One of the inalienable rights of all people is being able to have a roof over their heads to protect themselves (and their families and loved ones), from the elements, and others who might want to do them bodily harm. It doesn’t matter what type of roof it is. – It’s called “Freedom”! – Discrimination and Jealousy is created by those who envy that freedom. – Basically, in this case of not allowing parking and sleeping on the streets even in their vehicles…. Say what you will, but basically it simply boils down to “Discrimination”, and even the possibly of “Jealousy”. – Here are the facts. – Many if not most cities, and especially the huge larger cities across America already have a few (and sometimes up to many), “homeless” people and Veterans (without any shelters except for what they can round up, or cobble and throw together for themselves), living on the streets in them the year round. So for the city officials, authorities, as well as the people who are citizens of those cities why is it so difficult to understand (as well as being hateful), by all of them in allowing people like those that are down on their luck at times to park overnight, or for short terms, and to live in cars, vans, pickups with campers, travel trailers, motor-homes and other RV’s? – In most cases, the people down on their luck along with the full-time RVer’s and tourists move on anyway and generally don’t cause any trouble. – Granted there are some who abuse those privileges if allowed to do so, but those cases need to be taken on a case by case basis. More cities across America need to do just what San Diego just did here and allow parking on the streets and living in those vehicles as long as those people are not abusing the privilege. If they are abusing that privilege, then those that do need to be punished individually and on a case by case basis…. Not punishing all of those that aren’t, just because of those few who do.