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New LA County program targeting illegal RVs aims at removing, disassembling mobile homes

EAST GARDENA, Calif. (KABC) -- More than 100 business owners and residents of East Gardena and West Rancho Dominguez packed a warehouse Thursday afternoon to learn more about a Los Angeles County program designed to clear out an estimated 500 RVs that illegally line the streets there.

"It's literally two straight blocks of RV, garbage, RV, garbage!" said Toni Ziff, owner of TR Trading Company, whose warehouse hosted the meeting. "We're business people. You can't make money when you're in the middle of this kind of toilet."

Making matters even worse, there are more than 100 children living in the RVs, according to the Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce.

Isela Grecian, Senior Deputy on Housing and Homelessness for L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell's office, said their team has started a soft launch of an RV Pilot program back in March designed to find housing for the people living in the RVs, remove the mobile homes and disassemble them so they don't pop up somewhere else.

The program as a whole, she said, is expected to start before the end of August.

"We hear them loud and clear," Grecian told Eyewitness News. "Supervisor Mitchell completely agrees with them that the county needs to move faster and she's been on for two years and completely understands that the residents have lived with this for longer than the two years she's been in office."

The RVs are more than just a nuisance problem.

A lack of any real sewage system means several hundred people have no sanitary way to dispose of their human waste.

"We have approximately 9,000 gallons a month of human waste flowing to the ocean out of these RVs," said local business owner Barry Coe. "It's an environmental disaster and it needs to be cleaned up now."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said 27 RVs have already been removed over the past few weeks, but doing so is rife with obstacles that slow the process down.

"The tow companies that we were working with didn't have room in their yard and weren't equipped to deal with the hazardous waste," said LASD Lt. William Kitchen.

Tuesday morning, county crews were cleaning up some of the garbage, but because of the sheer number of RVs, business owners think it will come right back.

Published by EYEWITNESS NEWS on August 4, 2023

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