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As LA’s homeless population surges, tow companies refuse to tow RVs

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The motorhomes are often pest-ridden and too dirty for the jobs to be profitable, companies say

An RV parked in an industrial area. Britta Gustafson/Curbed LA flickr pool

LA's homeless population is swelling, and more people are seeking shelter in RVs and motorhomes. The city of Los Angeles impounded about 1,000 motor homes and trailers last year—but only half were claimed, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Tow operators say that's because the owners can't afford the impound fees, which "start at several hundred dollars and usually run more than $1,000."

According to the Daily News, that's putting stress on the city, which is getting more and more requests for impounds. The tow companies it contracts with say the motorhomes are often too dirty and decrepit for the jobs to be profitable. If a camper is unclaimed, they will sell it at auction, but don’t make enough to recoup the costs of hauling it.

This spring, the number of tow companies signed on to do the work dwindled from three to one. The two companies that ended their contracts did so because of “the unsanitary conditions of the vehicles and the inability to recoup the cost of towing them,” says the News.

“I don’t think it’s people saying they don’t like the homeless,” detective Benjamin Jones of the Los Angeles Police Department’s towing service tells the News. “It’s the secondary effects. It’s the garbage, needles, feces, urine. They’re often overwhelmed by the odor.”

For the full story, click here.