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Sunset Cliffs residents fed up with illegal camping in neighborhood

Posted at 10:57 PM, Feb 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 15:51:19-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Some Sunset Cliffs residents are hoping the San Diego City Council listens to them on Monday when they explain why the city should keep a law that makes it illegal to sleep in a neighborhood in a vehicle overnight.

"Having people sleeping in their cars around our homes is uncomfortable ... it's just flat out wrong," resident Glen Volk said.

Volk, who lives one street north of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, told 10News he often sees homeless people in vans around his neighborhood.

One of those people is Sebastian Fayad, who calls himself a traveler.

"In my opinion, I'm not doing anything wrong, you know? I'm not hurting anybody," said Fayad.

Fayad’s van looks like an old work truck with faded lettering on the outside, but once you open the doors, it feels like you've stepped into an HGTV episode, with cedar panels, a kitchen complete with a stove and a decorative rug on the floor.

Fayad worked as a ship builder in Canada from age 18 to 26 and turned his craftsman skills into a way to travel the world.

The city is working to repeal the law that makes it illegal to live in a vehicle in neighborhoods overnight. Right now, people sleeping in vehicles in neighborhoods are ticketed or asked to move by police officers.

"For a lot of folks living in that situation, they don't want to be," Nathan Walley said.

Walley has lived on the curb in Ocean Beach for the past two years. He said technology took his job, so now he blows glass for cash.

"That's probably the hardest part about all that, I've always said the worst of us is the best of what they see," Walley said.

"Somebody took some human excrement and wiped it on a wall; I mean, it's gross," resident Beth Roach said.

She said on morning walks she's found a bottle filled with urine, feces smeared on a wall and a pipe used for drugs. Neighbors believe all of it stems from people camping in vehicles and think the problem will explode if the council votes Monday to make it legal.

"You've basically just said to everybody who has a camper van on the planet come to San Diego, post up on multi-million-dollar real estate along all of our beaches and hang out," Volk said passionately.

"It's a health and safety disaster waiting to happen," Roach added.

Both Fayad and Walley agree with neighbors.

"If people are paying $2 million to have an ocean front view and they have some dirt bag living out front in his van, I wouldn't be too happy about it," Fayad said.

Everyone hopes a solution can be reached.

"I'm hoping folks smarter than me can come up with an idea," Walley said.

"I'm open to brainstorming on it," Roach said.

Roach suggested a camp site specifically for homeless, but Walley said that could create danger for the homeless people there.

The City Council is expected to vote on the matter during their Monday meeting at 10 a.m.