Fort Ord Homeless Encampment

People living in the parking lot on former Ford Ord gather at a picnic table for a meal. 

On Thursday, July 30, a group of homeless people gathered at a table in the middle of a parking lot, surrounded by more than dozen RVs overlooking Monterey Bay, with pork chops on the grill. They were getting ready to share a meal that was donated to them earlier in the day. 

After weeks of fighting the move proposed by Seaside City Council, the group of approximately 40 people living out of RVs and other vehicles in the Roberts Lake parking lots have made the move to a new location on former Fort Ord. 

During their mealtime there’s talk of how they like the new location because it’s quiet and there’s space to spread out and let the dogs play. 

The site may be out of the public's view, with less people stopping to take pictures and gawk at the people living in theit vehicles. But it’s also farther from commerce—something a number of people who advocated against the move were worried about. But they’re making do, better than they expected. 

“We have a retired vet that got permission to use the commissary, that’s been really helpful,” says Gaia Hunter, a woman living out of an RV in the Fort Ord lot. 

There is no electricity at the new location, but there are more amenities being provided than were available at Roberts Lake, including permission to garden on the property and build a shed to store donations like food and hygiene products, and an outdoor shower that is being installed. 

Earlier this week the city installed the water line and Seaside City Manager Craig Malin will be finishing the shower with an attached dressing area this weekend.


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(3) comments

Leigh Fitz

I've wondered for many years why we DON'T let people living in RVs stay on the vast and empty parking lots on Fort Ord. They're not bothering anyone, don't need services beyond utilities and a way to clean out their tanks which COULD be provided and even paid for. That this is happening on it's own, due to Covid, is at least a start. The Flea market in San Jose is a great example of how you can build an entire little city/neighborhood on an old parking lot WITH utilities, facilities and a way to keep it clean. Add a nonprofit to manage it all, charge fees on a sliding scale and away we go. For those afraid of these people, just stay away. NOT hard to do.

luis Valencia

I am disappointed at city leadership, a homeless encampment will only bring trouble in quite area unfold fort ord. Many call that area home and it's less than 2 miles from a school. Almost people there now are not the problem, the problem will come when the roaming homeless start coming to utilize the facilities...then propping up tents around the area. Have you seen what "china town" in salinas looks like. Open air drug deals, feces and used drug needles on the ground...I am sorry but city leadership F'd thisbone up big time.

George Lentz

When the homeless-in-RV's get free electricity and internet to go along with the free water, sanitation and trash, there will be a rush of folks moving out there with them.

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