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People living in vehicles rally against new city restrictions

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jul 17, 2019

San Diegans living in their cars and recreational vehicles rallied Wednesday against a new city law that places steep restrictions on where they can stay.

The City Council passed the emergency restriction in May after residents complained about safety concerns with people living in their cars.

The law bans people from living in their vehicles near homes or schools, and blocks them from staying almost everywhere in the city between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

"Homeless could by anybody, it doesn't mean we're criminals," said Robert Ewing, who lives in his R.V. "Just because we ain't got no place to stay. Times are hard."

The law went into effect in June, about the same time the city opened a new safe parking lot for R.V's next to SDCCU Stadium in Mission Valley. The lot, however, has largely gone unused. People who live in their vehicles describe concerns over gas mileage, location and a rule requiring them to be out by 7 a.m.

Meanwhile, Disability Rights California is challenging the ordinance in court.

A spokeswoman for the mayor says the city is committed to providing individuals living out of their vehicles a safe place to park at night, while connecting them to supportive services.

At the same time, she says the city is committed to keeping its neighborhoods clean and safe.