Residents of RV park in Agua Dulce receive aid from L.A. County
Less than a month away from a deadline, which would require the park owner of Cali Lake RV Resort in Agua Dulce to reduce the number of spots from 103 to 47, state and county agencies seem to be inclined to grant an extension, and provide resources for tenants of the park, respectively.
According to officials from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, though nothing has been confirmed as of yet, they are considering whether to grant an extension for park owner Stewart Silver to allow current tenants to stay at the facility while county officials work to provide housing and other resources.
The county Department of Regional Planning is currently processing a conditional use permit for continued operation of the park, according to Samuel Dea, supervising planner in the north county development services.
“So primarily, it’s all the internal work of county departments like Public Works, Public Wealth, and Fire [Department],” said Dea. “We have clearance from Fire so far.”
According to Dea, county agencies are working, slowly but surely, to get the required documents and approval to then be able to schedule a planning hearing and finalize Silver’s permit.
HCD issued a notice of violation to Silver for health and safety violations in November, and officials said they will reinspect the park in January. The notice of violation made residents more anxious about their situation as they didn’t fully understand how the notice would impact them.
“Please note that the HCD does not have the authority to shut down or close mobile home parks,” an HCD email to The Signal read. “The county maintains the land use authority. HCD’s goal is to have the park come back into compliance for the health and safety of its residents.”
According to county officials, HCD issued a notice of violation to Stewart for expanding from 47 spaces to 103 spaces without local land use authority from the county or approval from HCD. The state agency explained that to clear the violation, Stewart must reduce occupancy and spaces from 103 to 47.
The deadline to begin the task of reducing the number of spaces was set by Jan. 1.
If an extension is not granted, Silver would need to reduce the number of tenants at the facility until he reached the permittable 47 spots as soon as possible. The deadline has caused worry among residents, who fear being displaced from their community and becoming homeless.
Silver and RV park residents are hoping for an extension after successfully appealing to the county Board of Supervisors in early-November. L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, 5th District, introduced a motion to initiate support for the residents of the RV park on Nov. 1.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the motion, which directed every relevant county department and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to explore housing options as well as programs and services, including finding new RVs for residents with older models, who may be interested in relocating to a nearby RV park.
In addition, Supervisor Barger also reached out to state representatives via letter to request that they take action to secure an extension to the Jan. 1 deadline.
According to officials from Barger’s office, in the past month county representatives visited the RV park and its residents. In the most recent meeting, Barger’s staff and representatives from LAHSA provided a Thanksgiving meal.
Tyler Cash, homelessness deputy for Barger’s office, said county partners are engaging with RV park residents. County partners are making assessments, talking with residents, and trying to fully understand the needs of the residents.
Brittnee Hill, LAHSA director of access and engagement, and Kimberly Barnette, a member of LAHSA’s outreach team, said that based on initial conversations with residents, residents need resources for health care, home health care support, food programs and more.
Every family and every individual at the park, based on early conversations, would require a different pathway or connection to different resources.
County officials said it would be “extremely challenging” to provide resources to Cali Lake RV Resort residents without an extension to Silver’s deadline. It would be difficult to navigate anyone into a permanent housing situation because there is still much work to be done, according to LAHSA officials.
“We have to meet them where they’re at to understand their situation,” Hill said. “Being very trauma-informed, and focused on understanding what the challenges are.”
LAHSA brought in a trailer to conduct interviews and navigate possible resources with residents in a private space. Sometimes these conversations can be complicated and very personal, Hill added.
Silver and RV park residents shared their gratitude for the county’s support. Residents are eager to find additional support and other possible housing options, but many wish they could stay together in their community.
“The more people that see that it’s a community, that these people go way beyond the call of duty and everybody looks out for each other, the better off we are to be able to keep them as a community,” Silver said.
“These people have been together — some of them for 30 years,” he added.
The residents of Cali Lake RV Resort come from all walks of life. Some veterans, some with physical disabilities or other health issues, young families, children, seniors and many animals call the RV park their home.
Pouli Rockwell, a manager of the RV park, reiterated that many residents consider the facility a haven.
Rockwell, like others at the park, would love to have everybody stay and get additional resources to meet their basic living needs such as food and health care.
“It’s a great community,” Rockwell said. “It’s just like no other place I’ve been. Everybody really cares about each other.”
Additional reporting by Signal Staff Writer Rylee Holwager.