Ground Zero: Acknowledge that since 1971 San Francisco has been – and continues to be – a Sundown Town for gypsyTravellers and other vehicle dwellers. Rewrite SFPD 97 to comply with Martin v. Boise. Or better yet, let’s do the right thing, get rid of it altogether because you realize it’s outright discrimination because you studied *our* history. Maybe start with a quick rundown of hate against nomadic people since 1300s, see the last 40 or so pages of my new book out on Amazon: Vehicle Dwellers’ Legal Primer https://www.amazon.com/dp/1539496023 or for a free flip page version go to www.anyflip.com/gdpn/yrjf (1st two pages are intentionally blank)
Phase One: To grandfather in this first emergency need for a site for campgrounds, use the section of SFPD 97 that says the General Manager of Park + Rec can authorize the use of anywhere in the park for anyone he says can be in the park, in a “house car”. There must immediately be set up a Women-Only campground. RVs. No tents. Women are being raped repeatedly in their tents and tarps. It has to stop now. These violated women need the safety of a metal wall and a locking door. These can be donated or purchased used off Craigslist. It is ludicrous to not consider these as a resource. In the litigation I began Nov 25, 2020 against the Dept. of Homelessness, I attach as an exhibit a letter sent (in 2020) to Vice-President Pence from the RV Industry President donating some new motorhomes to the cause of fighting COVID-19. The letter describes all the things our unique vehicles can be utilized for, including living quarters. Thus, ground zero is to accept that a used RV is safer (and more home-like) than a canvas tent, safer (and more home-like) than a shelter, and far cheaper (and more home-like) than a motel room, which are merely a clever part of the scarcity model that Dept. of Homelessness uses as part of their approach to controlling the available poverty housing for the “deserving poor”. NOTE that the reason that RVs are a forbidden housing resource is that if governments started to utilize them, then it would have to actually provide for the RVs already in the municipality being utilized as homes by gypsyTravellers and other ethnic nomads, the van-lifers, the temporary 9-5 weekday vehicle dwellers. It’s just easier to ignore the elephant in the room, that RVs are wonderful, safe, inexpensive, readily-available, furnished, instant homes that can help people escape tragedy and start their lives over immediately. These RVs should also be given to their occupants, say in a year or 18 months, once these women have stabilized, gotten driver’s lessons and their license, a sense of somewhere they’d like to go. Set them up with a Thousand Trails membership and a small amount of support and I bet 95% of them would drive off in the sunset and happily find new lives in new hometowns. It would give them HOPE and a sense of moving on from their violation. Same with domestic abuse victims. In fact, this idea in general (i.e. the title-transfer of RVs to people once they have “earned” them by straightening out the factors in their life that destroys their forward progress) could be utilized against the pending wave of evictions. It would give people both hope and a practical hand-up. It would be okay – though most likely unconstitutional and thus unenforceable – to require people with their gifted vans and RVs to leave San Francisco upon completion of the title-transfer. I recognize the fear that the City might be flooded with RV dwellers. But consider presenting it to the public as way to be admired and copied by the entire nation if this world-class City (capital C) were to 100% solve homelessness in 90 days for a minimal amount of money (as compared to the current plan of purchasing of hotels at $300,000+ per unit PRIOR to renovations).
Phase Two: Commandeer the space for several campgrounds throughout the City. First and foremost, it is illogical to NOT have campgrounds for both tents and RVs (separate sections). Why are there NO commercial RV parks or any kind of campground here? Maybe study how Thousand Trails runs theirs. Just a really important business model and source for advice on how to run a campground. Money-making business everywhere. Why not here? But, ummm, quick question, exactly what does Urban Alchemy or Mother Brown’s know about running a campground? So let’s pause for a sec and set up a clear understanding that you have a choice. Run real campgrounds that are a pleasure to be in (again, actually go see all of the seven Thousand Trails campgrounds in a 150-mile radius). Or you can go on with these Safe Parking Lots and Vehicle Triage, which are segregation camps. Furthermore, the need of HSH to shuffle people into “real housing” is a type of gypsy conversion therapy, which I fully intend to address in my lawsuits. The fact is gypsies, Travellers, other nomads, and the Rainbows exist. Snowbirds exist. Van lifers exist. People who use a vehicle-home as a base to work in the City during the week. Even worse, people are abandoning society’s old model of apartment-life. The pandemic has changed everything and this is how it gets fixed. Please get rid of the idea that the “normal RVer” and the “homeless RVer” are any different from one another in either needs or rights. No difference between us and any other American.
So, to proceed, in addition to the women-only campground, what you will need are THREE (3) types of campgrounds:
- #1) the real transient’s stop-over: an overnight place to pay a small nightly fee for which no facilities are given, just a legal place to get off the road. No supportive services needed because these are the people who are already housed — they are just passing through. Services add value. Offer them on a pay-per-use rate.
- #2) the pay-by-the-week regular campground for all types of rigs (most RV parks in California practice the 10-year-old-or-newer rule); it will need to be run on a sliding scale; presentation of a current EBT card or being on SSI, etc. gets the federal rule invoked (30% of one’s income);
- #3) the campground that allows people to live there by-the-month (again, a sliding scale available)
Phase Three: for immediate overnight housing, think outside the box. Purchase buses used to host the bands of touring musicians. They have private sleep bunks, sanitation facilities that can be dumped at any RV park and re-filled, cooking facilities, storage underneath. School buses can also be utilized like this. Staff it with a counsel-type who can triage these desperate feral women out here. Immediate safe refuge to a rape victim or someone being stalked. If it’s a psychotic breakdown, help can be summoned. These buses, parked in danger zones by Golden Gate park, Lake Merced, the Tenderloin, Candlestick, etc, become a lighthouse for desperate, lost women. Literally, a candle in the window (solar-powered, of course). Daytime they convert to a place that people know they can reach out to for help – and get it. This is already being done in Australia. https://www.sleepbus.org/
Phase Four: So your bus with the candle in the window has collected a few waifs, kept them safe literally that night, gave them a sandwich, a chance to let them talk or just crash. Then what? If they aren’t willing to come into the campgrounds, most of those will slip off at first light but still need a place to spend the day. All humans suffer from fear of isolation. That’s why encampments grow out-of-control. They need a “town square” where they can sit and chew the fat (and maybe learn something). Another element (a.k.a. problem) is the sheer amount of STUFF collected by this community. Part of it is hoarding, a mental illness, but a larger part is to have something to barter. For some, it’s all that there is left for them to do in society, collect the trash we throw out. Sooooooooooo that’s where the Thieves Market comes in…allow these negative things to be transformed, a space for them to flourish by displaying and selling their crafts or their finds. This can also be seen as a way for the larger community to come to like a casual, open-air market, as it is in Mexico City (this is where the name comes from). Around this “town square” for the alternatively-housed, you place your “service trucks”, similar to common place food trucks. You see, in allocating a set of hubs (again, homeless are everywhere, so they will need this in almost all districts, they don’t have to be large – they just need to exist – think of them as an outdoor living room), thus the homeless will come to where there is a place to get water, eat a free bowl of soup, get a sandwich to carry away with them, charge their phone (solar panels attach to a regular car battery then using a $50 inverter), etc. But this is NOT a navigation center to get herded into the system. This is a free-and-easy place people go to spend their day. It will be accessible by the general public so it will need to be something of character and interest. Think art. Murals. Sculptures. Landscaping. Grow some damn vegetables, for crying out loud. Make it wildly an asset, in other words. I’d also point out that certainly the police would appreciate central locations like this to check for actual stolen goods and the psychopaths out here hurting the women. I think in your internal discussions that ought to be pointed out repeatedly.
Phase Five jobs jobs jobs … can we please make a concerted effort to find folks work? I personally will be starting a community bulletin boards for folks out here to list skills and resumes and general history to rejoin the workforce, even if only as day labor or projects. Ton of creativity being wasted out here.
Phase Six Fix the RVs that need a little help or replace them with a used RV. Just do it like it’s your grandma in need of help.
This wouldn’t take anywhere near 90 days to do. I just factored in the extra time for the politicians to argue about it before the People take over and do it. 😎