RV PRO

July '20

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Pan Pacific RV Aids San Jose Homeless RV Park While no state has had to handle anything like the global pandemic that took hold in the U.S. in March, California was at least perhaps more prepared than most to handle it, given that it seems to see more than its fair share of natural disasters. But wildfires and earthquakes don't make household phrases out of terms like "shelter in place" and "social distancing." While California's statewide stay-at-home order affected businesses of all types, some of them were lucky enough to be deemed "essential" businesses and stay open. Pan Pacific RVs of Northern California was one such business. When the virus struck, the state's emergency response was swift, according to James Bonin, the general manager of Pan Pacific RV. "Just as 'shelter in place' and 'social distancing' were becoming terms that would soon be known to most every American, the state of California decided to mobilize in an effort to meet the needs of its citizens. Among these citizens are the homeless," Bonin says. "While 'shelter in place' became both a near-daily phrase and a new reality to millions of Americans, the ability for those which are shelter-less to 'shelter in place' is a paradox. Step in the state of California, which is experienced in mobilizing during tumultuous times such as wildfires and earthquakes, to provide shelter and assistance to its citizens. "To meet the needs of the homeless in the South Bay and Silicon Valley cities and towns, the state of California pulled from a stockpile of RVs the state had purchased during the days and weeks after the 'Camp Fire' in Paradise, Calif. in the fall of 2018." The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive in California history; it killed 85 and destroyed more than 19,000 structures of all types. The state's chosen location for this temporary RV camp for the homeless was the parking lot of a local petting zoo and amusement park, neither of which were open. The state put out a request for expertise from the RV industry in getting the encampment configured and connecting all of the units to basic utilities, and Pan Pacific RV – which has been a staple of northern and central California since 1973 – answered the call. The state brought in 105 trailers used to shelter individuals and families during the fire, most of them in various states of disrepair. The Pan Pacific team, con- sisting of Bonin; Service Manager Austin Freeman; and technicians Angelo Santos, Dannie Reyes, John Bowling and Samantha Santos arrived, and working in con- junction with San Jose, Calif., city employees, were able to get the trailers leveled, sliders extended and get them ready to hookup to utilities in just a couple days. Once needed repairs were made and setup was considered complete, water, waste, and electrical services came next. The utility vendors completed work in two days, after which Pan Pacific returned to finish the hook-ups and test. During testing more of the coaches' true conditions began to emerge. Immediately, water was found coming out of leaky hoses and poor connections. These were noted and added to the overall assessment list. At press time, the state and county were discussing "next steps," but Pan Pacific says it is poised and ready to move back into the encampment and continue to advise, coordinate, diagnose and provide services as needed. RV PRO SPECIAL SECTION July 2020 • RV PRO • 71 Pan Pacific worked with city officials to make an RV camp for homeless people in San Jose, Calif.

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