A pilot program for safe and legal places for unhoused residents to park their recreational vehicles was announced recently by two Alameda County lawmakers.
Supervisor David Haubert and Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan jointly announced the proposal Tuesday. It calls for up to 10 parking sites for recreational vehicles on city-owned or county-owned land with at least one site in each of the county’s supervisorial districts.
Kimberly Jones of Kaplan’s office said in an interview Wednesday:
“There is such an identified need. … It’s an issue that can’t be ignored.”
Jones said Oakland itself has a great deal of need and the county has a lot of resources to address homelessness. But she cautioned that money is needed to pay for the pilot program and that’s a little complicated. While state and federal funds are available to address homelessness, money isn’t earmarked for the RV issue, she said.
A big part of the issue the lawmakers want to address is sanitation. Without sites specifically for RV parking, plumbing, sewage removal and sanitation in general are problems. Those three things pose a health problem for the county, the lawmakers said. The proposal calls for each site to have onsite management to be sure, among other things, that trash and sewage are handled properly.
A city-county collaboration on the issue is important because RVs move around the county, including in unincorporated areas. Haubert and Kaplan suggested in a letter to the public and their colleagues that unhoused residents in RVs pay for use of the proposed sites on a sliding scale based on income.
To help the residents resume normal lives, services such as the opportunity to sign up for Medi-Cal and job programs could be brought to the RV sites. The two lawmakers also suggested as part of the pilot, that each jurisdiction where a site is located provide a local match in terms of land, personnel and/or funding.
Work, health and vehicle-repair programs may be available at the sites. Places to dump sewage may be accessible at each RV site or at another location.