Jailed in California for Housing the Homeless

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

This sort of conflict continues to arise, where people are living in below-code situations and shut down – to go live in below-code situations in other venues, presumably.

This time somebody went to jail for arranging the housing, though.

San Luis Obispo rancher who housed homeless is sentenced to jail for safety code violations

A San Luis Obispo rancher who for years has illegally housed homeless people was ordered today to serve 90 days in jail.

A defiant Dan de Vaul stretched out his arms and let deputies place handcuffs on him before being led out of the San Luis Obispo courtroom. The 66-year-old defendant was offered probation after a jury convicted him in September of two misdemeanor violations of building and safety codes at his Sunny Acres ranch.

But De Vaul refused the terms of his probation because he said it would mean he could no longer provide shelter for about 30 people who reside in his sober-living facility. For eight years, he’s operated the program on his 72-acre ranch, housing clients in mobile homes, tents, garden sheds and an aging Victorian home.

The article says that SLO “officials” have offered to “help” the gentleman in question bring his property up to code, but he declined all offers of help.

Here’s the SLO Trib article.

90 days for code violations (including storage of vehicles). Wonder how many people around there engage in code violations and don’t house the homeless (or go to jail)?

I don’t mean to underestimate the potential for barn fires, but sending this guy to jail seems pretty radical.

Though not as radical as perhaps offering these people he’s helping, something better than living in a barn?

If you send a guy to jail for housing the homeless in substandard conditions, and don’t take responsibility for their plight yourself, who’s the bad guy?

Also, I’d love to know more about the “help” the “officials” offered. I’m sure they were officials, and I’m sure it was help. It would be interesting to know the conditions of accepting the help, though.

Seems like it’s so often that way when you’re dealing with being homeless…all these conditions. Somehow I suspect they didn’t just offer him a $25,000 grant to fix the place up, ya know?


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    • Miep on November 24, 2009 at 4:05 am

    jailed for housing the homeless

    • Miep on November 24, 2009 at 4:45 am

    with this sort of thing is usually “Well, these buildings were not up to code housing, people might die.”

    Then I get to say; “Well, homeless people die all the time of all sorts of things and nobody much cares.”

    Then they say, “But you cannot just ignore the law.”

    Then I say, “Well, people have roommates and charge them all the time, not necessarily in up to code housing, and nobody seems to insist on inspecting them and ensuring they have installed handicapped ramps.”

    Then they say “But why do they have to keep all these old cars and tires and concrete rubble around?

    Then I say; “Because old cars have spare parts for other cars, and sometimes old tires can be reused, and in fact can be used to build things, and concrete rubble can be handy for all SORTS of things” (which it indeed can; I reuse mine all the time. Usually it ends up buried as fence post support).

    The general impression I get with all of this, is that the real problem is these folks are spoiling the view.

    Isn’t that just dreadful!

    • Inky99 on November 24, 2009 at 4:57 am

    The “state”, who can’t provide shelter for these people, throw a guy in one of their shelters for giving shelter to those who don’t have shelter ….?

    That makes SUCH perfect sense.

    I wish I were Robin Hood.  I’d  go bust that guy out of jail just to piss off the idiots who arrested him.

    So people can’t fucking camp on your own ranch?   What if it were a bunch of boyscouts instead of homeless men?   Would they have sent him to jail for that?  

  1. Homeless need

    a) shelter

    b) homes

    Shelter beats nothing.

  2. Partial quote:

    Taking on ‘St. Dan’

    Christine Mulholland, for one, isn’t charmed.

    She’s positioned a telescope in her living room so she can keep track of what he’s up to. A former San Luis Obispo councilwoman, Mulholland is De Vaul’s No. 1 critic and has filed a 10-inch stack of paperwork that documents every alleged code violation since 2000.

    When she moved into the quiet tract two decades ago, the picture windows in her living room looked over a pastoral scene: black cows grazing on green fields. Now it resembles a junkyard, with rusting automobiles and piles of scrap metal, the Sunny Acres encampment off in the distance.

    It infuriates her when people defend De Vaul for taking in homeless people. “There’s a lot of people who think he’s St. Dan,” said Mulholland, a no-frills woman who stands 6 feet 2 and has decorated her airy home with frog collectibles. “But he’s taking money from people to house them in substandard housing.”

    More here:


    They are enemies with similar backgrounds, both from pioneering California families.

    • Miep on November 26, 2009 at 7:12 am


    SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.-A San Luis Obispo man who chose to go to jail rather than evict the homeless from his ranch has been released from jail.

    Defense attorney Jeffrey Stulberg says one of the jurors who convicted his client, 66-year-old Dan de Vaul, paid a $500 bail bond Tuesday.

    Stulberg said the juror, Mary Partin of Atascadero, felt pressured to vote guilty on the two misdemeanor counts of violating building and safety codes even though she believed de Vaul was innocent.

    De Vaul was released from jail after he filed a notice of appeal with the Superior Court.  

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