Jaime Paige

Special to the Daily Press

The Los Angeles Homelessness and Poverty Committee is scheduled to vote on a “first of a kind” RV pilot program that could be implemented citywide.

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez launched the RV Pilot Program, which is in its eighth month, in Council District 7. She said that the program has successfully placed individuals into housing and facilitated the voluntary removal of their RVs in exchange for “disposal incentives.”

Rodriguez says homeless RVs grew citywide by 41 percent from 2019 to 2022. In Council District 11, the jump was 56 percent, according to LAHSA. Numbers from the 2022 Homeless count show there are currently 363 RV dwellers in the district.

Rodriguez noted in a press statement that RVs often pose a threat to public safety by blocking visibility for those driving by, leaking sewage onto city streets, and creating fires when heaters or propane are used inside.

The councilwoman used $300,000 from her discretionary funds for the program as well as utilized funds from a Hilton Foundation grant.

As for measurement of success, the program helped get 20 RVs removed from city streets, 25 RV dwellers housed and 12 other people awaiting placement.

“Many feel safer in an individual hardshell dwelling they own rather than taking the risk of entering the shelter system,” stated Rodriguez.

“Others are living in fear of deportation and in need of specialized legal services. Due to these circumstances, many service providers and outreach workers have difficulty reaching clients, and of critical importance, there is no mechanism to manage the voluntary surrender of RVs when clients accept housing.”

Rodriquez also highlighted that the success from her program was because of the collaboration of West Valley Homes YES, Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) and LA Family Housing, and Council District 7.

” Most importantly,” Rodriquez states in her motion. “There has yet to be a single individual participant through this period that has returned to the city streets.”

Rodriguez wants the City Administrative Officer (CAO), in consultation with the service providers used in the pilot program and other relevant city departments, to look at adopting the model as a citywide program.

In late November, the council voted to explore a citywide rehousing strategy for people experiencing homelessness who are living in recreational vehicles.

That motion asks the CAO, LAHSA and the Department of Transportation to report back in 60 days on a strategy that includes:

— identifying and securing appropriate interim shelter and housing for people living in RVs;

— incentives for voluntary relinquishment of RVs used as dwellings;

— expanding Safe Parking programs to include oversized RVs in 24-hour Safe Parking programming; and

— Demolishing RVs after the resident moves into interim or permanent housing, with the consent of the owner.

It’s unclear if the two programs will work in tandem.

The pilot program is scheduled to be voted on Thursday, December 8 just a few days shy of when newly elected members of the council are sworn in.