Longmont tells homeless living in RVs to 'move along'

Posted at 9:40 PM, Aug 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 00:49:45-04

LONGMONT, Colo. -- Campers, trailers, and RVs are starting to pop up all over Longmont, parked along city streets. But it's not a wave of people just camping for recreation, it's people who can't afford the increasing cost of living.

The city wants them to move. The owners have only one question for them: "Move along to where?"


"Rental prices in Boulder county are out of control," which led Dustin to live in his 23-foot Winnebago. The lifestyle comes with the ability to drive wherever he wants. The problem, he said, is where to park. 


"I’ve been kicked out of 20 places in the last six months," he said. 


The city said the homeless problem has turned people to alternative forms of housing, and they are now setting up shop in neighborhoods where some residents aren't happy. So the city is doing something about it, legally speaking. 


A new city ordinance, discussed at a Tuesday night meeting, would change the current rules that require RVs to move a total of one inch every 24 hours, to moving 600 feet (or one city block) every 48 hours. 


"We're not trying to prohibit or limit peoples right to live in a vehicle," Assistant City Manager Sean Lewi told Denver7. "But if you move that vehicle every 48 hours then no one neighborhood is negatively affected and that's the complaint we’ve gotten from some residents."


Those complaints include trash, noise, and RVs taking over streets. 


"We really want to balance those competing interests," he said, referring to neighbors and the RV owners. 


The ordinance passed its first test this week. If it passes the city council on August 22, it will go into effect in late September.


"There's just nowhere to go," Dustin countered.


So Denver7 asked city leadership -- where should these RVs move to?


We were told the Boulder County Fairgrounds has an RV campground. When we checked, it was full. Another option was St. Vrain State Park. The earliest check in isn't until Saturday, with only one available site.


Lewis did add that a specific place for RVs would be something that Longmont would "look into."