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.