Long Beach is trying to make life a little easier for the hundreds of residents living out of their vehicles by providing a safe place to dump sewage from RVs.

The city is planning to lease a lot just west of Long Beach Airport and install RV hookups so homeless residents can safely unload waste from their motorhomes or campers and refill their water tanks.

The property at St. Louis Avenue and 32nd Street, which is just northeast of where Cherry Avenue meets the 405 Freeway, is owned by the Long Beach Utilities Department, which will lease the lot to the city if that agreement is approved at the Utilities Commission’s Thursday morning meeting.

It’s not clear how much the plan would cost or when the site will open. City officials involved in Long Beach’s homelessness response did not respond to questions sent Monday, but the Utilities Commission agenda offers some details:

  • The site is expected to operate between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • It’s expected to include two or three RV hookup sites, which will have to be constructed.
  • No overnight parking will be allowed.
  • There will be a security guard and an attendant on site.
  • Sometime within the next six months, the city plans to bring in portable showers as well.
  • Drive-ups won’t be allowed. People living in their RVs will need to get some kind of voucher or advanced permission to access the site—although the details of that process aren’t clear.
  • The lease would last for one year.

Long Beach is pursuing this project because it’s been challenging for people living in RVs to find places to unload their septic tanks, which can lead to them dumping sewage into parks, streets or other public areas, Public Works Director Eric Lopez said last week at a public meeting.

The goal, Lopez said, is to secure space where homeless residents can do that “safely and free of charge.”

As of the last count in 2022, at least 485 people were living in cars, vans and RVs on Long Beach’s streets. The city’s report did not provide a specific number for RVs.

But the need is great enough that officials hope to provide more dump sites beyond the one near the airport, according to Lopez.

“We are looking for coverage throughout the city,” he said.

That means additional announcements about more potential sites in the coming weeks, according to Lopez.

City staff are looking into renting space from Long Beach Transit, and a team is brainstorming more specific requests for other city departments and outside organizations to help with this problem and other homelessness-related issues, he said.

The Long Beach Utilities Commission will meet to consider leasing out the lot on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 9 a.m. The meeting is open to the public at 1800 E. Wardlow Road. The agenda is available here.

Locked out: Homelessness in Long Beach

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.