San Diego to again allow sleeping in RVs and cars

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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

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

Howard Roark

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… Read more »

George Sears

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… Read more »

Kamwick

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… Read more »

Old Prospector

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… Read more »