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Group pressures San Diego leaders to reverse vehicle habitation decision

Posted at 3:51 PM, Mar 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-14 20:19:11-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After San Diego leaders passed an ordinance allowing people to sleep in their vehicles, a group of critics say they're ready to camp in front of the Mayor’s house to reverse course or address the matter another way.

"I don’t think they realize that vehicle habitations were the beach community’s biggest problem,” said Racheal Allen, who's a part of the coalition opposed to vehicle habitations on residential streets.

The new coalition is fighting against the City Council’s decision to repeal a decades-old ordinance that had prohibited people from living in vehicles on city streets. Now that it’s legal again the group says vans and RVs are creating homeless camps in their neighborhoods.

RELATED: Allowing homeless to live in vehicles is causing problems, residents say

“We have literally witnessed buckets of waste being thrown out of some of these vehicles," Allen said. "I’ve seen drug dealing out of some of the vehicles, we’ve seen bike chop shops operating."

All of this, just in the month that living in vehicles has been legal again. And the coalition has been hounding the Mayor’s office to change it.

"There’s hundreds of us that are sending constant photos and stories," Allen said, adding that the group is planning to send a message. “RVs, vans, cars and just parking in front of some of the City Council members and Mayor’s house just to give them a taste of what it feels like.

RELATED: City of San Diego allows homeless to live in vehicles

"To have somebody watching you leave your house, then arrive at your house, they see you with your kids. It’s just very uncomfortable.”

This week, however, some local leaders are splitting from the city's decision. The Pacific Beach Town Council voted to urge city leaders to prohibit the ban's reversal and designate parking lots for campers in non-residential neighborhoods away from schools and daycare facilities.

Thursday, Councilmember Jennifer Campbell sent a letter to the Mayor asking for overnight safe parking on city-owned properties. She proposed South Shores parking lot because of the 200 spots and access to bathrooms.

Allen said she recently received an email from the Mayor's office saying, “we are actively pursuing a new ordinance to address the public’s concerns.”

"We have to put our foot down," Allen said.

Members of the coalition told 10News they don’t support a plan of using South Shores or anything that close to the beach because of the impact it could have on the environment.