Fed up with garbage, fleas, LA tow companies are refusing to haul away homeless RVs

www.dailynews.com | 7/16/2017 | Staff
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Pepe’s Tow Yard in Wilmington is the final resting spot for most of the motor homes formerly used by homeless persons on the streets of Los Angeles. The decrepit, trash-filled, flea ridden and burned-out hulks await the scrapyard or perhaps get auctioned off for as little as $50. Most tow contractors won’t accept the work, as it is a no win situation, financial loss. Manager Bertha Maldonado at Pepe’s handles most of LA’s towing in such cases. Photo by Brad Graverson/SCNG/07-13-17

Motor homes have become a fixture on Los Angeles streets in recent years, a reflection of the growing number of homeless people living out of campers.

Increase - RVs - City - Roadblock - Number

Along with the increase in RVs, calls to haul them away are rising. But the city has hit a roadblock as the number of tow companies willing to do the work dwindles.

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, 2,363 people across the city live in the motor homes. That’s a 20 percent increase from 2016.

City - Officials - Increase - Rise - Enforcement

City officials say that increase has led to a rise in enforcement measures, often in response to complaints from residents and business owners to remove campers that are unregistered or have overstayed the 72-hour limit on city streets.

But earlier this year, the city hit a snag in responding to the towing requests, after a pair of towing contractors quit, citing the unsanitary conditions of the vehicles and the inability to recoup the cost of towing them.

City - Company - Wilmington - Pepe - Towing

The city was left with one company in Wilmington, Pepe’s Towing, to handle all of the city’s towing jobs for vehicles heavier than 10,000 pounds.

Bertha Maldonado, the manager at Pepe’s Towing, said Thursday she now has a yard crammed with 55 vehicles, and they have towing jobs scheduled into August.

Detective - Benjamin - Jones - Los - Angeles

Detective Benjamin Jones, who runs the Los Angeles Police Department’s towing service, said that in...
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