In the heart of San Francisco, a silent crisis continues to unfold. Many families living in RVs near Lake Merced with young children face an uncertain future as they grapple with fines, towing, and displacement threats. Their homes, stationed in RVs due to varying circumstances, now risk being taken away due to stringent parking rules and a city grappling to find a solution. The story has also recently garnered attention on ABC7 News; check out https://abc7ne.ws/13584534.
Many people lost their jobs or had their work hours cut after the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been asking the city for a safe parking site for their RVs and access to affordable housing for years.
These families have built a community and come together to advocate for sustainable solutions. Still, a 4-hour parking rule threatens to disrupt this precarious stability – exceed this time and face hefty fines. Too many penalties, and they risk getting towed by the city and losing their homes.
A Voice of Advocacy
At GLIDE, our Center for Social Justice stands firmly as a founding End Poverty Tows Coalition member. Together with our unwavering partners, such as the Coalition on Homelessness, we champion the cause of families for whom the RVs by Lake Merced are not just vehicles but homes. We recently collaborated to counter the proposed 4-hour parking restrictions, understanding the dire consequences it would impose on these already at-risk families. Our collective voice insists that the city honor its commitment to allocate specific parking spaces for these RVs and explore and implement sustainable, affordable housing alternatives.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors convened a meeting where the four-hour parking restriction was up for discussion and vote. Consequently, the implementation of this schedule was postponed by the board. The parking restrictions may be on the agenda for a subsequent vote in September. While no concrete date has been confirmed, we remain hopeful that the city will recognize the profound impact of these decisions and prioritize the lives and well-being of its residents.
Our Response to Unseen Challenges
Our involvement in this work began as people approached our Unconditional Legal Clinic for support with unpaid tickets and expired registration (“poverty tows”). Our legal clinic stands as a steadfast anchor amid the tumultuous blend of despair and optimism. As the crisis deepens, we have been overwhelmed with heart-wrenching tales: young children gripped by the fear of losing their homes, desperate parents searching for solutions, and a community feeling increasingly sidelined.
We are proud to advocate for these families with our coalition partners.
For those in need of legal assistance, we understand the hurdles you face. You can access our legal clinic at https://bit.ly/3OuiAP4 for guidance and support. ￼
We invite you to stand with us on this journey. Your support can be influenced through donations, volunteering, or sharing these poignant stories. Additionally, reaching out to your city representative https://sfbos.org/roster-members and emphasizing compassionate and sustainable solutions is a powerful way to make an impact. Let us remember and uphold our shared responsibility and duty of care in a city heralded for its innovations.
In unity, we can alter the course of these families’ futures.