The 'Vanlord' Providing Shelter to L.A.'s Homeless
Madeleine Pauker reports on Venice’s "vanlord," a man who rents out a small fleet of vans for housing in the Los Angeles neighborhood:
The vanlord’s name is Gary Gallerie. He lives in a van in Venice and rents out another 14, most of which don’t run. Bearing bumper stickers that proclaim "Van life is not a crime," they sit in front of the neighborhood’s multimillion dollar homes for weeks at a time.
As more residents struggle with housing affordability in Los Angeles and the state, the number of homeless people living in vehicles is on the rise. Overnight parking in Los Angeles lots is available in places through a safe parking program, but space is limited and vehicles need to be moved each morning.
For $300 a month, Gallerie provides space in vans parked on residential streets in Venice and handles the logistics. "Van tenants have the keys to the back doors of the vehicles but do not have keys to the ignition and are unable to drive the vans. Gallerie moves the vans that run when necessary and pays to tow the non-operational vehicles to new locations," writes Pauker.
Neighbors and neighborhood groups have complained about the vans parked on city streets, and living out of vehicles is prohibited in many parts of Venice and allowed during the day in some areas. "The police have to see signs of someone living in the vehicle to enforce the restriction, however," writes Pauker.