A site near Long Beach Airport that will allow people living in RVs to dump their waste and refill their water tanks is set to open next week, the city announced Friday.
The site is located on the west side of the airport off the Cherry Avenue exit from the 405 Freeway. When it opens, the hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday through Friday, according to the city.
Opening the site could provide opportunities for those living in RVs to properly dispose of their waste instead of dumping it into storm drains or onto public property, which could create public health issues.
In a statement, Mayor Rex Richardson said the site would fill a critical gap in services for those living in RVs.
“Services that support people experiencing homelessness are not a one-size-fits-all solve,” Richardson said. “As we continue to address the issue of homelessness, we will work to identify, address and enhance services that support the diverse needs of our residents.”
The site will be staffed by a security guard and an attendant that will help people use the facilities.
In order to access the site, a person will have to get a referral and time slot from the city’s Multi-Service Center in West Long Beach, which is the city’s hub for homeless services. However, city officials previously said that a referral could be given over the phone and the intent of requiring an appointment is to ensure that those people are being connected to other homeless services.
However, getting there could be a challenge for some.
The city opened a safe-parking site at the Queen Mary for people living in their vehicles earlier this month. While the site can accommodate 50 vehicle, it is between 6 and 9 miles away from the new RV dump site, depending on the route.
In 2017, the City Council approved a ban on oversized vehicles like RVs from parking in residential neighborhoods without a permit from the city that temporarily allows parking in front of homes to load and unload them. The law has pushed RVs into industrial areas similar to where the RV dump site will be located.
Overnight parking at or near the dump site will not be allowed, the city said.
This could require people living in their RVs—whom the city said included about 100 people based on the 2022 annual homeless count—to have to drive across Long Beach to access the site as often as every few days to access the facility, depending on the size of the RV’s septic tank and how many people are living in it.
“While the City does not have current plans to use the forthcoming RV Sanitation and Water Filling Site for anything other than what has been outlined to the surrounding community through outreach, additional options to support the emergency response related to all aspects of homelessness, such as potential locations to operate an RV safe parking site, are always under consideration,” a city spokesperson said in a statement. “The City has not identified possible locations for that purpose at this time.”
The Long Beach Utilities Commission approved the use of the site at 32nd Street and St. Louis Avenue, which is surplus land that belongs to the department, to be used for the RV dump site. The Feb. 2 vote linked the city’s use of the site to its proclaimed emergency for homelessness, which will last for 180 days unless the City Council extends it.
The city declared an emergency Jan. 10.
Click here for more information about the site and how to access it.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the city.