For Immediate Release: November 2, 2022
LOS ANGELES -- Today, Councilmember Nithya Raman introduced a motion aimed at developing a comprehensive City-wide rehousing strategy for people experiencing Residential Vehicle (RV) homelessness, in alignment with the City’s Street Engagement Strategy and the Los Angeles Homeless Authority’s (LAHSA) Best Practices for Addressing Street Encampments.
LAHSA’s most recent point-in-time count, conducted in February 2022, indicates that nearly 6,500 people experiencing homelessness in the City of Los Angeles are living in a total of about 4,000 RVs, representing 22% of the City’s total unsheltered homeless population. Many RVs used as dwellings on LA’s streets are in grave disrepair, meaning that people living in them face unsanitary and sometimes dangerous conditions. RVs have also posed challenges for the neighborhoods in which they are located related to the release of untreated effluent into streets or stormwater drains, increased risk of fires, and other public safety concerns.
The City’s primary response to vehicular homelessness—particularly in RVs—has been a reactive one, not one that focuses on resolving homelessness for inhabitants of RVs. Using LAMC 80.69.4 to prohibit the parking of oversized vehicles between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m on specific streets, hundreds of streets have been added every year to the list of streets where oversized vehicle parking is prohibited. In response to these restrictions, residents of RVs often move their vehicles to other streets, meaning that these bans simply move people experiencing homelessness from one street to another.
“For decades, Los Angeles focused its response to vehicular homelessness on ticketing vehicles, posting street-by-street restrictions on oversized vehicle parking, and moving individuals from block to block.” said Councilmember Raman. “Our traditional response hasn’t worked — in just the last 4 years, the number of people living in RVs has increased by 40%. It’s clear that LA needs a new approach to vehicular homelessness centered around getting people into safe habitation.”
Councilmember Raman’s motion would direct the CAO, with assistance from LAHSA and the Department of Transportation, to report back within 60 days with a comprehensive City-wide rehousing strategy for people experiencing RV homelessness. The proposed strategy would address securing appropriate interim shelter and housing for people living in RVs across the City, creating incentives for voluntary relinquishment of RVs used as dwellings, and expanding safe parking programs.
In the proposed 2022-23 California budget, Governor Newsom has earmarked $300 million for Encampment Resolution Funding (ERF) grants. Local governments can apply for ERF grants to create projects that serve people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in encampments. Raman’s motion additionally instructs the City Administrative Office to report back within 60 days regarding the possibility of submitting an application on behalf of the City for an Encampment Resolution Funding grant from the State of California to support the proposed City-wide rehousing strategy.
"We need to be asking ourselves what it takes to solve the homelessness crisis at scale,” said Councilmember Raman. “An ERF grant could present a unique opportunity for the City to secure funding for and implement a City-wide rehousing strategy for people experiencing homelessness living in RVs, rather than continuing to rely on a broken, district-by-district approach.”