RV Dwelling in The LA Times


From The LA Times:

Eager to live in an upscale neighborhood without paying rent or buying a home, Remy Martin Foster said he hit on the perfect solution: He bought an RV.

RV Lincoln and Milwood

“Mathematically it made the most sense,” the unemployed 29-year-old said. “It was the best financial move I ever made. I started saving money immediately.”

Trouble is, living in a vehicle on public streets is illegal. Ever since Foster began parking his camper on residential streets, first in Hollywood and then in the San Fernando Valley, the motor home dweller has been rousted from one spot to the next by annoyed neighbors and police.

Such was the case recently when a Studio City resident called the police and demanded that Foster clear out of her quiet cul-de-sac.

‘”We just don’t want this kind of thing coming here,” the woman told a reporter. Although she would not give her name, she said she has lived in the tree-lined neighborhood for 62 years and had only recently seen an RV take up residence there. She said she wasn’t about to tolerate an extended visit. “We just worry that once they start encroaching….”

In the last several years, neighborhoods in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys have seen a 66% increase in the number of homeless people taking up residence in motor vehicles on public streets, while the rest of the county has experienced a drop of 65%, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

The trend, according to homeless advocates, is partly the result of strict enforcement programs instituted in other areas like Venice, and an economy that continues to struggle. They also say that the growing influx of mobile homeless points up a lack of social service programs in the valley areas and that friction between housed residents and the homeless will only continue to grow.

Homeless figures show “a disproportionate level of campers and RVs in 2011” in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, said Mark Silverbush, a policy and planning analyst for the homeless authority.

Foster, one of roughly 1,200 valley RV dwellers counted last year, said he doesn’t consider himself homeless, because he has shelter. Many other vehicle dwellers feel the same.

“It’s not the best thing,” said Michael Edward Huey, who lives with his wife, Maria, in a 32-foot Gulfstream RV on an industrial section of Saticoy Street in North Hollywood. But, he added, “I’ve got a roof over my head, I don’t have to pay rent.”

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Venice is mentioned some more.