VENICE (CBSLA) — Homeowners in Venice say they’re unhappy with the number of homeless people living in vans parked on their streets, but a man known as the van lord who rents out the vehicles wants to know what they’re doing to house the homeless population.
Jack, who has been living in one of the vans for nearly three months, said he works 40 hours per week and still cannot afford a place to live.
“I mean, it’s either you live in the can or sleep on the street,” he said. “I’m trying, what else do you want?”
Jack pays Gary Gallerie, also known as the van lord, $300 per month to rent the van, and he’s not the only one. There are multiple cans in the area with bumper stickers that read, “Van Life Is Not A Crime.”
But homeowners in the area are not happy about losing on-street parking spaces or behavior they say they’ve from some of the tenants.
“I’ve seen a young woman in this one last week, and I did mention to her it’s illegal to live in the van,” Mark Ryavc, the president of the Venice Stakeholders Association said. “These folks have no place to use the bathroom, and so what we find is that they use our planter boxes as a latrine.”
Both Mark and Jack agreed that using planter boxes as restrooms was “completely wrong.”
The community recently installed the planters on the sidewalk to prevent people from putting their tents on the sidewalk.
But despite local complaints, Gallerie said he doesn’t plan on moving his vans any time soon.
“Ask anybody that complains what have they done to help the homeless get housed,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.”
The Los Angeles Police Department said it would like to speak with Gallerie and work with him to try to fix the situation.