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Rydin Road

Rydin Road RV camp cleared; residents say they felt forced to leave their homes

on October 2, 2022

By Saturday, the last 28 people living in vehicles on Rydin Road were relocated by Richmond’s Public Works and Police departments. 

Non-functioning vehicles and the remaining recreational vehicles were moved to Safe Organized Spaces, under Interstate 580. Residents are temporarily being housed in motels in the surrounding area including in Pinole, Pittsburg, and Brookside Shelter in Richmond. Former Rydin Road residents can work on their vehicles from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily at SOS.

“I have been informed by City staff that the last RV has left Rydin Road,” Mayor Tom Butt posted on Facebook Saturday. “All previous campers have been relocated into suitable housing or shelters. Next is Hensley/Castro with some 100 campers. Good work, City staff! You did it!”

Rydin Road
Jessi Taran’s bus on Rydin Road (Mitzi Pérez-Caro)

Rain Citro resents being forced to leave Rydin Road after he and his partner were told by the city to leave the gun range on Goodrick Avenue and relocate to Rydin Road three years ago. 

”It feels like it was a mistake, we were happy out there,” Citro said. “Due to circumstances beyond my control, medical reasons, we needed to get closer to civilization.” 

James Foster said the same thing happened to him. And like Citro, he would have preferred to stay at Rydin. 

“I was directed here by law enforcement. I was in a residential area. They suggested and recommended that I come to Rydin Road,” Foster said.

Many people who had been living on Rydin had already left by mid-September, after the city imposed a Sept. 30 deadline. At its Sept. 20 meeting, City Council pushed back that deadline to Oct. 21 for residents with extenuating circumstances. 

Lina Velasco, director of community development, told the council that relocating Rydin residents is only a short term intervention. The city is in the process of drafting a strategic plan to address homelessness. The council is slated to adopt that plan by February.

Velasco said people have a few options: a shelter bed in Oakland’s Fremont Hotel, Glo independent living program or a shelter bed provided by the county upon request. The city also is open to work with other assistance programs. 

Relocating to a shelter doesn’t suit Jessi Taran, who wants to keep living in her colorfully painted bus.

“I choose to live on my bus. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. This is what I want to do. I don’t agree with our current economic paradigm, “ she said. “I don’t feel like it is a good deal for me to give up my life for an apartment. I’m disabled. To me, this is the best solution. I am being fiscally responsible living within my means. I shouldn’t be punished for that.”

Rydin Road
Jessi Taran with her kiosk (Mitzi Pérez-Caro)

Taran is among those who created a sense of community at Rydin. She had a kiosk at the center of the encampment out of which she distributed donated food, water and solar energy. 

According to the city’s point-in-time count this year, the people who live in RV encampments on Rydin Road and on Castro Street, which also will soon be cleared, are among 632 unhoused residents in Richmond. Rydin residents are getting some relocation money, with $50,000 being equally distributed among them. 

Kathleen Sullivan, former director at Greater Richmond Interfaith Program and now a Homeless Task Force member with the city, suggested using the money to help Rydin residents get their vehicles repaired, licensed and insured. She said it would be beneficial for the city to partner with an auto repair business to make the vehicles movable.

Foster agreed that fixing his vehicle would be a better solution. He wants to know what the options are for people who do not want a shelter bed.

Taran said a tiny home community where residents gain training in a marketable skill would be a better solution. 

“Instead of being homeless, they would be a skilled workforce. It would draw industry to the area. It would provide housing,” she said. “Once they get a job they could either choose to leave, or choose to give a third of their income to the housing community. It would pay for itself.”

Martha’s Vineyard meets Richmond: Mayor suggests Rydin RV dwellers park at council members’ homes

9 Comments

  1. Jason on October 3, 2022 at 7:09 am

    Taxpayer dollars do not need to be spent on repairing a homeless person’s vehicle. Churhes and volunteers can handle that. If those vehicles are not movable, they are trash and need to be taken to a junkyard and used for parts and scrap. As for Foster, if you don’t want a shelter bed, then you’re on your own and you will keep moving your camp. You don’t get to choose what the help looks like.

    • Yolanda on October 3, 2022 at 3:31 pm

      Agree. Let’s quit coddling and enabling.

    • Jessi Taran on November 8, 2022 at 10:36 am

      Taxpayers in Richmond VOTED to allocate funding to address homelessness. Newsom allocated billions of dollars to address the problem as well. You may disagree with those decisions, but that is irrelevant. The money to solve this problem has already been allocated/distributed – now the question is – where did it go? What was it spent on? You may not like the idea of tax payer money being used to help the homeless, but wouldn’t you prefer that money be spent on housing homeless people rather than on buying a new luxury yacht for some rich politician?

  2. Susan Davenport on October 3, 2022 at 9:21 am

    I’m sorry they didn’t want to leave. If you put your home on public property do you think that can go on forever? Thank you to all the planners and agencies that assisted. Every resident was given funds to assist and assistance in finding a permanent residence, if they chose. We are right now helping some furnish their apartments. This is comparable to the program that Mayor Butt and the Rotary Club have created where people can live rent-free for a year. We need to assist more permanent housing, not just living in broken down vehicles. Thank you Lina and all those who assisted.

  3. James molica on October 3, 2022 at 10:08 am

    I signed as a resident. However through management changes my signature came up lost. I was there from the beginning to the end of July. I left at first notice of the city not wanting us there. So they say I’m not entitled to any assistance. Not fair to me for being cooperative. I still need help. The papers I signed with sos are somewhere and I believe they could find them and help if they really wanted to. Every resident there can tell you that yes James was there for a long time. I approached management for help. She simply replied I don’t know you. You must have signed with the previous manager. You shouldn’t have to have a stand off to get help. Being kind and leaving on first notice backlashed on me and left me still needing help

    • Jessi Taran on November 8, 2022 at 11:05 am

      I just want to show my support for James. The city of Richmond gave a MILLION DOLLARS to HCEB – the management company hired to help Rydin Road residents – and they didn’t do a God damn thing. Furthermore, when Rydin residents asked for a forensic accounting of where that money went, and how it was spent, the mayor refused, saying that to do so would be too expensive.

      • Jessi Taran on November 8, 2022 at 11:47 am

        In this article, I proposed an alternative solution to the homelessness problem that would ultimately pay for itself. Didn’t anyone read that? Are the people of Richmond mentally blind to any ideas/information that they are unfamiliar with? Is everyone truly so strongly attached to preconceived judgments that y’all simply can’t process unfamiliar concepts? Punishing people for being homeless DOES NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM. Get it? Not only is criminalizing homeless people unethical, illegal, and expensive, – it also DOESN’T WORK. So the question is – what is more important? Punishing homeless people for not behaving in a way you approve of? Or reducing the number of people living on the street?

  4. andreasotoisaracist on October 3, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    Everyone in the South/West Annex will breathe much easier now that the homeless fires of eukalyptus, acacia and oleander have been stamped out.
    Thank the Mayor for the eviction and sending them to marxist junta homes.

  5. Jessi Taran on November 8, 2022 at 10:59 am

    Not a single resident of Rydin Road has been moved into permanent housing. Most are now living on the streets of Richmond. What the naysayers posting on this thread don’t understand is that the vast majority of people living on Rydin Road are handicapped/disabled. What is someone supposed to do if they have no family, and cannot earn enough money to pay rent? Where are they supposed to go? Government housing? Great! We would all love to hear about that. Tell us more… Solid facts/information ONLY please – no vague anecdotes.
    Furthermore, think about this… How much money does a person have to have access to in order to be considered ‘legal’? Should poor people be jailed simply because they do not have enough money to pay rent, and therefore have to sleep on the street? What about all the tax payer money being spent on incarcerating people? Wouldn’t it be better to spend a fraction of that money on housing people instead? Solving this problem really does not need to be nearly as expensive, or as difficult, as politicians are making it out to be. The real problem is that our local representatives do not actually WANT to do what needs to be done in order to truly SOLVE the problem. All they want to do is push homeless residents out. This ‘strategy’ is NOT a ‘solution’.

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