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RV-living residents open up about difficult housing experience amid neighbors' demands to remove them

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is working to remove RVs on a neighborhood street in Compton after the community demanded action.

Pastor Chuck Esters of the Community Baptist Church on Central Avenue and 148th Street told NBCLA that as the county worked to remove RVs from the main streets like Avalon, they started showing up on 148th Street in front of homes, a disabilities adult school, and a trucking school. 

“It’s just not real good for the neighborhood and residents are really upset about it. There’s increase in crime, we’ve got prostitution we’ve got drug dealing that we haven’t had before, this was a neighborhood that was really relatively quiet,” Esters said.

Esters hosted a community meeting in February and another Thursday, to give the community a voice to call on their County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, and the sheriff’s department to take action and remove the RVs as well as cars that people are living out of. 

A deputy with the sheriff’s office attended the meeting Thursday and assured residents that they would start removing the RVs the week of April 8, explaining it is a lengthy legal process under federal law to make sure that any person removed from a place on the street has a place to go indoors, or as they refer to it — a bed.

“We are currently looking for beds for them,” a representative from Holly Mitchell’s office said in the meeting. 

The deputy said that the LASD has been working to remove RVs all over the county, but they are running into capacity issues as their lots only store 20 to 25 RVs at a time before they are destroyed.

While some of those experiencing homelessness have created problems on the streets, NBC4 met one man who lives in an RV across the street from the church who spent his savings on his RV after his landlord doubled his rent and he couldn’t afford it anymore. 

“We living like that, but it is not because we like it, because we forced to live like this. Because the rent, high rent, the jobs, no good pay, you know? Short money. Well, we can do, you know, we can live in the tent in the street. If they taking me away from RV, I have to live in the street with a tent,” Juan Carlos exclaimed.

Carlos works full-time as a delivery driver for a medical carrier company, we spoke to him just before he had to leave for work Thursday. He explained he also has to pay for his car every month, gas, and insurance. 

He says his RV has costs, as well, with propane to cook and cleaning the sewage. He even lets the others around use his restroom when they have nowhere else to go.

When asked why he chose to park on 148th Street, he said because it’s safer than many other places he’s stayed in Los Angeles.

“This is a nice place and a quiet place. I was living in the other place, they stole my RV, a lot of properties, a lot of drugs, and other things.”

He agrees the people who pay property taxes and have houses in the neighborhood have a right to want them gone, but he doesn’t know where to go.

“The county, what they can do is put some places so the RVs can stay there and put some public bathrooms there so the people can use that,” he suggested the county offer dormant commercial space for RVs. “They has to get the name of the owner, the license plate, insurance so they can stay there. If they commit any offense or anything to the public, they gotta move.”

At the meeting, the deputy echoed the same sentiment. There are no safe places for RVs to go on the streets. 

While a representative for Mitchell’s office was at the meeting, we did not get a response to our inquiry Thursday. 


Source: NBC Los Angeles

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