SEASIDE, Calif. (KION) Residents of a Seaside encampment packed their bags this week. One of the residents, Bella Maddox, said the city relocated them from Roberts Lake they've been on Colonial Durham Street in front of the MPC Public Training Center parking lot since. And now, as of Wednesday, they need to find a new place to live.
"The city is here to help remove this community, to relocate them to nowhere," said Timothy Heavin, a resident of the encampment who has also been voted onto the Continuum of Care Leadership Council in Monterey.
Maddox said being relocated is a "never-ending cycle", and with no place to go this time, it makes the move especially frustrating for them.
Last year, many homeless people from Robert Lake were moved to a Seaside location near the old Fort Ord Army, but it was supposed to be temporarily for 4 months. The City extended their stay and were supposed to be removed from the area on May 5, but due to the pandemic, the Seaside City Council voted to push the date to Tuesday, June 15. In the meeting, officials said the developers are supposed to be tearing down structures this summer to continue the planned Campus Town Project, south of the California State University of Monterey Bay.
The city has provided portable restrooms, potable water, camp showers, and roll-off dumpster. The city has also extended their 3-4 times in the last year. According to the meeting, the residents were allowed to come from Roberts Lake to Col. Durham until Col Durham was ready to move forward with the development.
"This property has been sold and the city needs to repurpose this property," said Seaside Deputy Chief Nick Borges. "We're even willing to put people up into a hotel temporarily and the city has even offered to pay for storage for a short period of time to help people get from this location on their feet."
Maddox said the city is willing to pay up to $425 dollars to rent an RV spot or a motel. She said she will be using the money to stay at a motel which would cover four nights. "We're just now trying to get our feet in the door of the proper channels to go to shelters and get in," she said. "But there's waiting lists for everything."
The nearest RV park charges $65 a night, which could add up to more than $2000 a month if there's room. But residents said they are hopeful they'll be able to find a place for themselves and their RVs.
"There's organizations at work here that are trying to come up with solutions for them and provide services," said Heavin. "But time is not on our side. We need time." He mentioned he called and emailed the City Manager and City Council to have an emergency meeting give the residents an extension until the demolition plans begin.
"We would like Craig, the city manager, to keep his promise to relocate us. He said there's nowhere. All this land on Fort Ord… there's nowhere to put us, it's all sold," said Maddox. "There's so much land. I know there's somewhere they can put us."
KION has reached out to the Seaside City Council and the mayor for comment and has yet to hear back.
Heavin said the property next door is allowing them to store their belonging there for free for 90 days. Residents also said they're thankful for local services that have been provided, but they're hoping in the future, when re-adapting vulnerable communities, it's handled in a proper and effective way.
As for the development slated for that location, the Camp Town Project is expected to include the construction of 1,485 housing units, 250 hotel rooms, 75 youth hostel beds and 150,000 square feet for retail, dining and entertainment. The development would extend from 1st to 7th Streets between Gigling Road and Lightfighter Drive. The project received backlash from the Christian Memorial Community Tabernacle Church back in 2018 when the City also requested them to relocate.