People living in vehicles move to different marina location in Berkeley

BERKELEY (BCN/KTVU) People living in their vehicles at the Berkeley Marina left Marina Boulevard when ordered to do so by police this morning, one of the vehicle dwellers said this afternoon.

The 20 to 25 people living in vehicles have relocated to the parking lot of the Hs. Lordships restaurant at 199 Seawall Drive, according to a vehicle dweller who goes by her first name, "Amber."

"The police came and told everybody we had to leave right then or they would start towing peoples' homes, so we had to move as quickly as we could," Amber said. 

The vehicle dwellers were living in about a dozen large recreational vehicles lined up on Marina Boulevard.

Most of them have moved to the Hs. Lordships parking lot. Hs. Lordships is closing July 2, according to the restaurant's website.

Amber said she has heard that if the group doesn't leave the Hs. Lordships parking lot by 11 p.m., the vehicles will be towed.

The officers said the vehicle dwellers had to move to get out of the way of construction, Amber said.

Amber described the group of vehicle dwellers, who she said had lived at the Berkeley Marina for many months, as "an unintentional community." She said the community includes families with children.

"I can't do anything. I can sit here and I can pray to God that everybody in the town understands that we're human beings and they're human beings," said Leah Naomi Gonzales one of the vehicle dwellers with a child. "There is nothing I can do. And, if they think that Berkeley offered us any services, they didn't."

"They are making the peoples' life...what they are doing, just to stay alive, a criminal act and we don't think that's right. We think that violates the Constitution," said Osha Neuman with Eastbay Community Law Center Attorney.

"This morning the police are doing the bidding of the City Council and the city manager and the manager of the Double Tree and they are moving an entire community of, otherwise, homeless residents, who shelter ourselves in our vehicles, to no where as far as we're concerned," said Amber Whitson.

Berkeley police did not respond to a phone message and an email requesting comment by press time.

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