California Cracking Down on Bohemians

Vehicle-dwellers no longer welcome in Venice
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2010 8:43 AM CDT
A painting of Michael Jackson awaits sale at Venice Beach on June 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.   (AP)

(Newser) – Venice, a California community known for its offbeat and bohemian nature, has long been a popular home for vehicle-dwellers, some of whom sell artwork on the boardwalk by day and sleep in RVs or campers by night. But they might soon be forced out, as the city enacts new regulations aimed at getting RVs and the like off city streets and out of beach lots, the New York Times reports.

The recession led to an uptick in vehicle-dwellers, with more than 250 residing in Venice as other Southern California communities adopted restrictions against them. "The only place between Santa Barbara and San Diego where campers can park seven blocks from the beach is this little piece of land," says City Councilman Bill Rosendahl. He's secured grant money to run a pilot program designed to help vehicle-dwellers who want to transition into permanent housing, but says those who aren't interested in it "can take their wheels and go up the coast or somewhere else. It’s not our responsibility to be the only spot where near-homelessness is dealt with in the state of California."

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