Time is ticking for the residents of Cali Lake RV Resort in Santa Clarita, as a critical deadline looms on June 19th, potentially displacing 20 families and leaving them with nowhere to call home. The uncertainty surrounding the situation has left residents, like Judy Santiago, frustrated and fearful of the unknown.
“I’m totally ticked off at the way this has been handled,” expressed Santiago, a resident with limited income who, like many others, found refuge at Cali Lake RV Resort after experiencing homelessness. “I’m frightened because I don’t know where we are going to go,” she added with concern.
The residents of Cali Lake RV Resort were unaware of the impending challenges when they first moved in. While the resort is legally permitted to accommodate 47 lots, an inspection revealed a staggering 103 occupied lots. This discrepancy raised red flags, prompting intervention from Kyle Kraus, the Deputy Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development Division of Codes and Standards.
“Our inspectors discovered that electrical infrastructure, water piping, and sewer piping had been installed without county approval or any necessary construction permits or inspections from HCD,” explained Kraus, shedding light on the unauthorized modifications made to the site.
Park Managers Pauli Rockwell and Michele Savino, who are also residents of the RV resort, allege that owner Stewart Silver hired a contractor who assured him that all the required permits were being obtained. They contend that in December 2021, Cali Lake RV Resort received a permit for the 103 recreational vehicle lots, which led them to accommodate residents. However, they later received a notice informing them of an error and demanding the removal of the additional lots.
Adding to the complications, LA County prohibits the expansion of the land due to environmental concerns, and the RV park sits within a high-severity fire zone, exacerbating the challenges faced by the residents.
Kraus emphasized the responsibility of owner Stewart Silver, stating, “It’s Mr. Silver’s responsibility and duty to ensure these residents have a safe place to relocate, and if there are any expenses, the park owner should bear the responsibility to relocate those residents.”
Supervisor Kathryn Barger acknowledged the gravity of the situation and offered her support, stating, “This is a difficult situation that I have been working on for several months.” Barger highlighted the involvement of Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) outreach workers since February, assisting residents in identifying their needs and connecting them with housing options and services. Barger emphasized that eviction notices are not currently mandated by the county or any government entity, and she continues to advocate for an extended timeline to find a resolution.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) remains committed to supporting the residents of Cali Lake RV Park. As per their statement, LAHSA outreach staff has been actively providing services, including interim housing, since early 2023, and they are determined to address the evolving needs of the park’s residents.
As the fate of Cali Lake RV Resort hangs in the balance, the families residing there face an uncertain future. The collaborative efforts of local authorities and organizations like LAHSA offer a glimmer of hope amidst the challenges, aiming to ensure that these families find a safe and stable place to call home. The coming days will be crucial in determining the outcome, and the community watches with bated breath, hoping for a positive resolution that prioritizes the well-being of these vulnerable individuals and families.