Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

A push for decriminalizing homelessness

"Not everyone who lives in a van is a disrespectful drug-addicted hoodlum."

The view from Sam Moore's living room
The view from Sam Moore's living room

For nearly a decade, Sam Moore (not his real name) has called Ocean Beach his home. For the past seven months, his abode has been a 1991 Chevy van.

His lifestyle choice has not been without consequence. Until the past couple of weeks, the police were disturbing Moore's peace about once a week. This week, it's been almost every night via civilians or the police.

"The police have stopped and checked out my van multiple times lately,” Moore said on February 21, “but the last notable time was when I was harassed by one civilian and moments later with what sounded like maybe four or five police officers. They started banging on the windows, yelling to get out of the van, shining flashlights through every little crack that hadn't been blacked out, and trying to open the door handles. They waited about 20 to 30 minutes, then left. The police usually write a ticket, if they can.

"This particular time, I got a $57 ticket for parking on the curb. My tire was less than an inch onto the curb. After the police left, I counted four illegally parked vehicles within a block, completely free of tickets."

Finding a parking spot for his van can be a challenge. "I move a lot," said Moore. "I always try to find a legal spot by businesses, parks, water areas, or construction sites. I do my best to find a spot where there isn't a house. It's just not comfortable for anyone."

Sponsored
Sponsored

Originally from Wautoma, Wisconsin, Moore is a massage therapist who works on athletes, police officers, orca trainers, and others.

When asked what made him choose the van life, he said, "After years of building a successful business, I was proud of what I had accomplished but felt that my life was too comfortable. About this same time, I traveled through Central America, mainly hitchhiking and walking for nearly ten months before coming back to the States. Once back, I realized I wanted to continue on the journey, so I bought the van."

Before choosing a life on the streets, Moore lived in an apartment on Brighton Avenue. He says the most challenging obstacle was letting go of his creature comforts. But once he did, he says it was one of the most emotionally freeing things he'd ever done. Even with the hassle, his lifestyle is not without its rewards. It affords Moore the ability to travel the world. Last month, he spent time in Australia, and this year he plans to visit Germany, Southeast Asia, and Japan.

I asked Moore if he can see a day when he'll trade in the van for a white picket fence.

"Oh sure!” he said with a laugh. “Maybe not a white picket fence, but someday when I find someone who is supposed to be that other half. But right now, it's all about challenging, growing, creating, and simplifying."

What would he like to see as far as a change in the laws?

"I would love to see a day when the homeless are as accepted as any neighbor in the box next door," said Moore. "It would be great if we stopped looking at people who choose different lifestyles as criminals. Not everyone who lives in a van is a disrespectful drug-addicted hoodlum; just like not everyone living in an apartment is a positive addition to the community."

Help may be on the way if California senator Carol Liu has anything to say about it. In mid-January 2016, Liu introduced a new anti-discrimination bill that calls on California municipalities to treat the homeless as they would anyone else using public spaces. If passed, SB 876 would allow the homeless to rest on public property without being arrested or cited.

The bill states that if the homeless are discriminated against, they will have an avenue to pursue civil action. The bill also clarifies that the homeless will not be allowed special access to public spaces: when they are closed to the public, they are also closed to the homeless.

Liu said on February 19, “We need to address California’s homelessness problem head-on with housing and wrap-around services that provide a secure living environment and pathways out of poverty. There are working models and best practices available to inform our actions.

"Meanwhile, cities need to stop harassing and criminalizing the homeless. This only moves the problem to another jurisdiction and creates a criminal record that prevents the homeless from qualifying for housing, jobs, and student loans.

"SB 876 simply prevents cities from enacting ordinances that bar the homeless from engaging in activities that any other person would be allowed to do, such as sharing food in a public space.”

The bill is currently in committee.

Mayor Faulconer's office declined to comment; the San Diego Police Department didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Ten women founded UCSD’s Cafe Minerva

And ten bucks will more than likely fill your belly
Next Article

Gonzo Report: Save Ferris brings a clapping crowd to the Belly Up

Maybe the band was a bigger deal than I had remembered
The view from Sam Moore's living room
The view from Sam Moore's living room

For nearly a decade, Sam Moore (not his real name) has called Ocean Beach his home. For the past seven months, his abode has been a 1991 Chevy van.

His lifestyle choice has not been without consequence. Until the past couple of weeks, the police were disturbing Moore's peace about once a week. This week, it's been almost every night via civilians or the police.

"The police have stopped and checked out my van multiple times lately,” Moore said on February 21, “but the last notable time was when I was harassed by one civilian and moments later with what sounded like maybe four or five police officers. They started banging on the windows, yelling to get out of the van, shining flashlights through every little crack that hadn't been blacked out, and trying to open the door handles. They waited about 20 to 30 minutes, then left. The police usually write a ticket, if they can.

"This particular time, I got a $57 ticket for parking on the curb. My tire was less than an inch onto the curb. After the police left, I counted four illegally parked vehicles within a block, completely free of tickets."

Finding a parking spot for his van can be a challenge. "I move a lot," said Moore. "I always try to find a legal spot by businesses, parks, water areas, or construction sites. I do my best to find a spot where there isn't a house. It's just not comfortable for anyone."

Sponsored
Sponsored

Originally from Wautoma, Wisconsin, Moore is a massage therapist who works on athletes, police officers, orca trainers, and others.

When asked what made him choose the van life, he said, "After years of building a successful business, I was proud of what I had accomplished but felt that my life was too comfortable. About this same time, I traveled through Central America, mainly hitchhiking and walking for nearly ten months before coming back to the States. Once back, I realized I wanted to continue on the journey, so I bought the van."

Before choosing a life on the streets, Moore lived in an apartment on Brighton Avenue. He says the most challenging obstacle was letting go of his creature comforts. But once he did, he says it was one of the most emotionally freeing things he'd ever done. Even with the hassle, his lifestyle is not without its rewards. It affords Moore the ability to travel the world. Last month, he spent time in Australia, and this year he plans to visit Germany, Southeast Asia, and Japan.

I asked Moore if he can see a day when he'll trade in the van for a white picket fence.

"Oh sure!” he said with a laugh. “Maybe not a white picket fence, but someday when I find someone who is supposed to be that other half. But right now, it's all about challenging, growing, creating, and simplifying."

What would he like to see as far as a change in the laws?

"I would love to see a day when the homeless are as accepted as any neighbor in the box next door," said Moore. "It would be great if we stopped looking at people who choose different lifestyles as criminals. Not everyone who lives in a van is a disrespectful drug-addicted hoodlum; just like not everyone living in an apartment is a positive addition to the community."

Help may be on the way if California senator Carol Liu has anything to say about it. In mid-January 2016, Liu introduced a new anti-discrimination bill that calls on California municipalities to treat the homeless as they would anyone else using public spaces. If passed, SB 876 would allow the homeless to rest on public property without being arrested or cited.

The bill states that if the homeless are discriminated against, they will have an avenue to pursue civil action. The bill also clarifies that the homeless will not be allowed special access to public spaces: when they are closed to the public, they are also closed to the homeless.

Liu said on February 19, “We need to address California’s homelessness problem head-on with housing and wrap-around services that provide a secure living environment and pathways out of poverty. There are working models and best practices available to inform our actions.

"Meanwhile, cities need to stop harassing and criminalizing the homeless. This only moves the problem to another jurisdiction and creates a criminal record that prevents the homeless from qualifying for housing, jobs, and student loans.

"SB 876 simply prevents cities from enacting ordinances that bar the homeless from engaging in activities that any other person would be allowed to do, such as sharing food in a public space.”

The bill is currently in committee.

Mayor Faulconer's office declined to comment; the San Diego Police Department didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gonzo Report: Save Ferris brings a clapping crowd to the Belly Up

Maybe the band was a bigger deal than I had remembered
Next Article

Fr. Robert Maldondo was qualified by the call

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church pastor tried to pull a Jonah
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.