It’s a fine line that separates the homeless living on the streets in tents and under tarps with those a step above living in derelict RVs with no money to pay for a campground, for repairs to their RV, or even their vehicle’s license renewal fees.
Some communities are making a real effort to solve the problem, for example, St. Vincent de Paul of Sonoma County seeks to lend a hand to up to 50 Santa Rosa RV dwellers living in their vehicles, a number of them displaced by last year’s wildfires, reports the PressDemocrat.
Last week, executive director, Jack Tibbetts, brought the matter to his executive committee, which approved the use of up to $13,000 to help those living along Corporate Center Parkway.
That effort includes intensive outreach to connect people with homeless services, shelters, family support, and permanent or temporary housing, including RV parks or campgrounds, as well as monetary help with paying fees.
“We’re here to help people in order to keep them in compliance so that they don’t lose shelter and mobility,” said Michael Nesta, St. Vincent de Paul’s disaster relief case manager. Mobility is necessary in order for people to be employed, take their children to school, and in this case, to have a place to live while they’re in transition Nesta said.
And in Guerneville, CA, the intended sale of a campground has public officials and social service providers scrambling to find a way to ensure that 50 people who live there aren’t left out in the cold.
The auction of the Faerie Ring Campground, in foreclosure since earlier this year, failed to draw a successful offer.
“In my opinion, it would be a catastrophe if people were to be displaced from the Faerie Ring Campground,” Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins said. “I really think that a lot of the folks that live there have no other choice, and I’m really concerned that some would be homeless.”
But some communities seem to take an opposite view on how to deal with the RVing homeless. City officials in Durango, Colorado, after closing the city’s only homeless camp on Friday, said they have no plans to provide overnight camping for the homeless.
Mayor Sweetie Marbury said the city is not in the business of having a homeless shelter.
So the question you might want to ask your community leaders is, where do you want them to go. You can’t just send them off to the next county and make it their problem, or take all their belongings and impound their RVs and expect them to just disappear. And the problem is getting worse. Not just in your community, but in communities across the nation as more RVs are being sold than there are affordable campsites to park them. Just read the comments on the news articles that are posted at RVTravel.com. It is time for solutions, not for sweeping the problem under the rug.