RVs

Residents Are Frustrated With RVs Parked in Neighborhoods. What Happened to LA's Ban?

Homeless advocates say not being able to afford rent isn't a crime, and in a city with sky-high housing costs, RV camping is better -- and safer -- than sleeping on the street.

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The city of Los Angeles currently has no laws banning people from living in their RVs in residential neighborhoods. The ordinance banning the practice expired in January 2020.

Since then, some neighborhoods have been overrun with campers.

"Where are we supposed to park in the neighborhood?" one man, who lives near Rose and Main Street, can be seen saying on a video sent to NBC4. RVs are parked bumper to bumper along the street.

Residents complain that not only do the campers take parking spaces from residents -- some also block sidewalks with belongings, while others dump their toilets directly onto the street.

"I see a lot of garbage, and it stinks," said Venice resident Sara Baton. "It smells really bad."

"We need a place for them," said John Scott, another Venice resident. "And I don't think it's here."

Homeless advocates say not being able to afford rent isn't a crime, and in a city with sky-high housing costs, RV camping is better -- and safer -- than sleeping on the street.

"When I lost my job, we had to figure out another place to live," said Charles O'Neal. He moved into a converted bus, because he can't afford rent while his wife goes to college.

"A lot of these people here are hardworking people," he said.

When the ordinance banning RV camping expired in January of last year, the city didn't renew it, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though signs banning overnight parking are still posted in some locations, there are currently no restrictions being enforced anywhere in the city.

LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino is trying to revive the ban.

"The City of Los Angeles today is the largest mobile home park in the country," he said. "And we owe it to the housed and the unhoused because today, it's a free-for-all."

He wants to tweak the law, however, so that RV owners could get a free permit to park in industrial areas.

That way, the city could controls how many RVs will be parked in anyone's spot.

The permits would also connect RV dwellers to homeless services.

Buscaino believes the changes to the ordinance would allow the law to hold up to any potential constitutional challenges. Violators could be subject to fines.

"If they don't abide by the rules, then they have to move on," he said.

The proposed ordinance will be considered by the city's homelessness and poverty committee later in November. If approved, it goes on to the full City Council.

But even if the ordinance receives final approval, it will likely be many months before enforcement sets in.

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