San Diego votes to repeal the ban on homeless residents living in vehicles

In a progressive step towards the rights of homeless citizens, the San Diego City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to allow residents to live within their vehicles, repealing a 1983 ordinance prohibiting the action.

The repeal comes only months after U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia ordered that San Diego stop ticketing homeless people for living in side vehicles, citing the law as being "too vague" to enforce. This comes as great news to groups of homeless living in recreational vehicles and homeless advocates who have been calling for the repeal for years.

On the subject, City Councilman Chris Ward noted that although the repeal wasn't a be-all and end-all to San Diego's homeless issue, it was a gradual move towards lessening the burden of our transient population for simply existing.

"Nobody wants to see people relegated to living in their cars, on the streets, away from services,'' Ward said. "We have the capacity and the ability to do more for individuals experiencing homelessness. We need to bring this full circle and work on more housing opportunities."

Since the city has not enforced the ordinance since August 2018, the city's homeless residents are not likely to feel an immediate shift in livelihood. Since a 2018 count, close to 1,200 transient people have been counted as relying on their vehicles for shelter. Homeless people living in RV's were not counted, so this number is expected to be much higher.

STAFF