The city recently prohibited RVs from parking overnight on numerous streets in Lincoln Heights and other Eastside neighborhoods. Desirae Velasquez is worried about the impact this will have on people who live in their vehicles, including her father. Here’s a version of the letter she sent to Councilman Gil Cedillo, who proposed the overnight ban.
I want a moment to express my concerns as this is something close to my heart. I was born and raised in Lincoln Heights, and though the community is small, it’s home. This is where I feel the happiest. I took my first steps here as a baby, I navigated the halls of high school here and throughout the years have met many great people in my community.
The new motion that was approved recently criminalizes people who live in their vehicles. They are being treated as a burden to the city. Where should these people go? Where can they go? Is an alternative location available for them? Will there be an advanced notice or a grace period to give them enough time to find a new place to live? The motion states oversized vehicles will be towed. How will they survive?
Some of the people that live in trailers need time to collect their only belongings. For me, this is a very personal issue that affects someone I love. My father is an older gentleman who lives in his trailer on one of the streets mentioned. He rented a home for many years until the rent began to increase to an amount he could no longer afford. He lost his home in Lincoln Heights and now his trailer is all he has.
I have no idea what to do to help him regarding this matter. I am the only family he has left, and I feel completely powerless. I do not have the luxury to provide the help he needs. I am in my twenties working full-time, attending school part-time and renting a small apartment in Lincoln Heights. I can barely make ends meet myself. My wish is to be able to provide answers for his housing situation, guidance, anything that will help my father find some peace about his living situation.
I do sympathize with the residents of the streets mentioned. I can see that some people are not respectful in cleaning up after themselves and maintaining a clean and sanitary environment. When I visit my father every other day, I wish I could help contribute in cleaning up or if possible urge the city to provide trash cans or bins for their use.
I understand how this is an inconvenience and even a burden to some, and I understand they may not be obligated to sympathize with those they consider homeless. However, my father doesn’t deserve to be punished this way, nor those who live in their vehicles.
I beg you to please reconsider this with all due respect or please advise or offer any options. Please do not tow their homes, that is all they have.
Desirae Velasquez works in the medical field while also attending school to pursue a career as a radiologist technologist.