Los Angeles News

Neighbors complain about overnight RV parking in Valley neighborhoods

Monday, April 02, 2012

There's controversy over "urban camping": people living in their motor homes on residential streets. Many say they have no choice because they're homeless. But residents say they don't want the recreational vehicles in their neighborhoods.

Rudy Barela and his wife have lived in a cramped RV for two months. They have running water and a place to sleep, but not much more. Barela lost his job in June.

"My family and I became displaced and homeless, and I decided to buy the motor home to save up some money," said Barela.

Barela says by not paying rent or property taxes they can survive. He's now parked in an industrial area.

But when RVs show up in residential neighborhoods, residents aren't happy.

"It's not really nice that they park right there. It brings down the neighborhood. They should park somewhere else," said Sherman Oaks resident Kevin Wagner.

Neighbors said the owner of one RV moves it every 72 hours to comply with parking regulations, and that it's been there for nearly two months.

"I'm concerned about security, and the streets can't be cleaned when they park there for several days at a time," said Valley Village resident "Bea."

With a bad economy, homeless advocates say they see more and more people living in their vehicles. It's illegal.

"The solution to those housing pressures can't be to create a new, transient, unsustainable means of housing," said L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian.

Krekorian hopes the city and non-profit organizations can work together to help these families.

"To increase the availability of permanent, supportive housing and to address the root causes of homelessness in the first place," said Krekorian.

But that will take years. Rudy Barela is hoping to get a job in the next few weeks so he can get off the streets, out of his RV and back into a real home. He wants people to know that.

"Not everybody is bad out there. Get to know people. Remember: No one's perfect, and it could be you out there maybe one day," said Barela.

In Venice, residents got the city to prohibit overnight parking of oversize vehicles and RVs. Some Valley residents say they might try to ask for that as well.

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