Berkeley looks for safe space for RV dwellers

ByLisa Amin Gulezian via KGO logo
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
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Berkeley city leaders want to find a safe space for about 50 RVs to park.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- "This is a crisis. We need to do something now and we need to look at all potential options." These were strong words from Berkeley's mayor, Jesse Arreguin, about a serious problem seen all over city streets -- RVs, some parked illegally, with dwellers from the age of 6 to 60.

City leaders want to find a safe space for about 50 RVs to park.

Arreguin went on to say, "While we provide a safe place to park, we have to provide services and housing navigation to get people out of their vehicles, off the streets and into permanent housing."

Many living on 8th Street and Harrison in West Berkeley simply don't trust the city and its intentions.

Merced Dominguez has lived in her RV for five years and said, "How can you tell people how to live when you don't understand what it's like to be out here?"

Leah Naomi Gonzales is homeless and said, "They need to stop playing games... if they're gonna let RVs be here, they need to let them be here. They need to stop playing games."

RVs were once parked at Berkeley's waterfront in a vacant lot. But it's owned by the state so dwellers had to move their vehicles off the property.

RELATED: New city-sanctioned 'Safe RV Lot' opens in Oakland

Now the city is considering asking the state for permission to use the land again.

Berkeley resident Pamela Speich said, "Once you select the right people who will use the help, I think it's an excellent program."

The council is expected to direct the city manager to find sites for RV parking.

The mayor, meantime, hopes to have a plan in place by the fall.

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