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.