MARINA, Calif. (KION) Monterey County Sheriff began evicting people who were living in the parking lot in front of the Monterey County Coastal District Office on Friday.
Many of the people were part of "Safe Parking Program" that was created in 2017 to deal with illegal camping in Marina. The program allowed up to 15 cars and RV's to park between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
"We had until the 12th to ultimately evacuate the premises,” said Leanne Bur.
Leanne Bur is one of the several people evicted from the parking lot. Previously, she rented a room for $700, but, she said it was difficult to pay rent which is why she decided it would be best to buy a car.
“Homelessness isn't a new thing to me," said Bur. "I've been struggling with this off and on over the years. I mean, I've never really been, I've never established myself probably because of this situation."
According to Monterey County Sheriff's Office, the situation got out of hand, when people who weren't part of the program started parking in the lot and weren't respecting the hours or rules under the program.
“There were people here with vehicles that haven't moved since the day they got parked here," said Commander Derrel Simpson. "They don't even run. That's why they had it towed. Mechanics had to come out today and get several vehicles running so that they could drive them away. People turn it into a permanent residency, it was never designed to be that."
According to Simpson, the people have been warned for months that this day was coming.
"At some point, several weeks ago, we came out and actually tagged the vehicle," said Commander Simpson. "We did not follow up and actually start removing vehicles after that, in kind of hopes that people would realize we're moving in that direction. Earlier this week, I believe on Monday, we came out started tagging vehicles and we've been here
every day since so that they know this was not a bluff that the vehicles were going to be removed today.”
Wildfire Daystar was another person living in the parking lot. She along with others argued not enough time was given. Daystar said she had to work three jobs to pay rent however because of the high costs she had no choice but to
live in an RV. The only solution is to lower the cost of rent, she said.
“That's how a lot of homeless people became homeless," she said. "There are still people here to have three jobs and they have to live in RVs because they can't afford rent. We need to start commanding, demanding that California lowers the rent, lower the cost of living. Because it is the future that going to be paying for this too.”