San Diego

‘No Humanity Whatsoever': Homeless Mothers Sleep in Cold After SDPD Tows Vehicles

Police say they gave fair warning about registration tags that had long expired. The mothers and their 10 and 12-year-old sons are staying at a local motel for now.

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Two homeless mothers say they were forced to sleep outside in cold, damp weather with their young children after San Diego police towed their vehicles, which they had been using as shelter.

“I explained to them, 'Please don’t take my vehicle. This is our only shelter.' And they just didn’t care,” said Lisa, 54, who says she’s been homeless since August.

“I was so mad. I was so sad. I was heartbroken. I was frozen in fear," said June, 41, who’s been homeless for the last year.

Lisa and her 10-year-old son met June and her 12-year-old son as the families were living out of their cars at Mariner’s Point in Mission Beach. They say they found safety and comfort by sticking close together.

Last Thursday, however, they say San Diego Police Department officers towed their vehicles and they were forced to gather their personal belongings without storage, and sleep outside in 40 to 50-degree weather.

The City of San Diego released the following statement to NBC 7

“The two vehicles that were towed both had expired registrations, one for more than two years and the other since February 2022. One of the vehicles was also displaying a false registration tab (a tab belonging to another vehicle’s registration), which is a misdemeanor offense and requires confiscation of the plates and towing of the vehicle.

The registered owners of the vehicles have previously received warnings and citations, as well as, information for the City’s Safe Parking Program. The officers also contacted SDPD’s Homeless Outreach Team, who responded to offer additional services to the owners.

In recent months, San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division has received numerous complaints regarding vehicles in the beach and bay communities for parking violations.

SDPD is tasked with enforcing vehicle code violations, regardless of housing status, for expired registrations, outstanding parking tickets, oversized vehicles, recreational vehicles, attached/unattached trailers, registration-related violations or parking during unauthorized hours, among others.”

The two mothers’ story was first publicized on a YouTube channel by ‘Glorious Life on Wheels.’  

“There was no humanity whatsoever, no sympathy, no nothing. It was just straightforward, 'This is our job, this is what we’re going to do,'" said Lisa.

For now, the homeless mothers and their children are staying at a motel, thanks to the help of local homeless advocates.

But both say they’re unsure of their future and likely will not have the money to get their vehicles back. A fundraising page has been established on their behalf.

“The city council has to make some type of ordinance that if a child is living in a vehicle, no matter what, leave those vehicles alone and let them have their shelter,” said Lisa.

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